Settlement conference set in bounty cases for July 23

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Like last year’s federal litigation involving the NFL and the NFLPA, a magistrate judge will try to broker a settlement.  Unlike last year’s antitrust lawsuit that sparked a lockout, the settlement effort in the cases challenging the Saints bounty suspensions likely will go nowhere.

According to Ryan Jones of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a settlement conference has been set for July 23, before Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Per the report, the case filed on behalf of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been consolidated with the case filed on behalf of the other three players suspended by the NFL:  Saints defensive end Will Smith, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita.  A source with knowledge of the litigation tells PFT that it’s not yet clear that all cases will proceed in front of Judge Helen G. Berrigan, and that it’s likewise not clear the settlement conference encompasses all pending claims among the various parties.

Regardless, a settlement of any of the claims will be difficult if not impossible to negotiate because the players believe there should be no suspension at all, and because the NFL surely wouldn’t wipe out the suspensions entirely.  That leaves no middle ground for a compromise.

It’s possible that, before July 23, a hearing will be conducted regarding the players’ request for a preliminary injunction blocking the suspensions pending the outcome of the litigation.  Since Vilma’s one-year suspension is effective immediately, he can’t report for training camp absent an injunction preventing the suspensions from being implemented.

11 responses to “Settlement conference set in bounty cases for July 23

  1. I like the attempt, at least. I’d much rather see compromises and settlements than lawsuits. But as long as De Smith is running the NFLPA, we should all get used to the phrase “Player X files lawsuit vs. NFL.”

  2. @jwayne111

    A paper cut??? Roger Goodell would beg the differ. This has been a P.R. nightmare for him and the NFL.

  3. Here’s a good settlement offer – the players will drop the lawsuits if the NFL goes totally public with every one of the “50,000 pages of evidence.” If the league’s case is as weak as the players say it is, public opinion and the media will pressure Goodell to drop the suspensions, or be hounded by this matter the entire year, up to and including the Lombardi Trophy presentation at the 50 yard line in the Superdome February 3, 2013.

  4. In my judgment, this isn’t the sort of dispute that lends itself to a brokered settlement. Any negotiated reduction in player suspensions will likely be viewed as a win for the players, and a loss for Commissioner Goodell and the league in this precedent-setting case. I think the league and Goodell should instead move forward and press their case against the players. Even if the court were to conduct an expedited hearing on a preliminary injunction request, wouldn’t the player(s) have to show a “substantial likelihood” of prevailing on the merits? How likely is that to happen?

  5. I think if you look at the season in question, the super bowl run. Each playoff game the saints defense got 10-15 fines for late hits. This is not about some punk line backer with a speech impediment. This is about setting the expectation that if you get caught doing this it will cost you.

    personally I would be fine letting them play if he stripped the saints of the title. I would also be okay with letting them play with a million dollar fine and a new rule that states late hits in the nfl playoffs = mandatory suspension for the duration of the playoffs.

  6. Of all of the football fans in the world I would say.. maybe 5 percent are nerds who read about football on a daily basis on sites like these. Out of that 5 percent some side with the league and some side with the players.

    Most football fans don’t even know these lawsuits are taking place..haha most football fans can even name the backups on thier own teams..

    Its far from a “public relations nightmare”

    It will be fine.

    Uphold the suspensions.

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