Judge dismisses Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against Goodell

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The bounty case is now over.  Mostly.

Judge Helen G. Berrigan dismissed linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday.  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello announced the development on Twitter.

Goodell and the NFL had filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the Collective Bargaining Agreement prevents players from suing Goodell personally for claims of this nature.  Judge Berrigan agreed with the league that, under federal law, Vilma could not sue Goodell directly, but that any remedies must be pursued under the CBA.

Vilma claimed that Goodell told lies about the player’s involvement in the bounty case.  Even if the case had been permitted to proceed, Vilma would have been required to prove that Goodell knew that the information was false or that he acted with reckless disregard to whether the information was true of false, since Vilma is a public figure.

Vilma will have 30 days to file a notice of appeal.

Even if Vilma chooses not to continue the lawsuit, there are still a pair of loose ends in the bounty case.  Saints coach Sean Payton and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will at some point apply for reinstatement.  There’s no guarantee their requests will be granted.

Last month, all player suspensions were overturned by former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

UPDATE 7:20 p.m. ET:  Vilma’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, tells PFT that Vilma is considering his options.

33 responses to “Judge dismisses Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against Goodell

  1. YES!!! An NFL story! Granted, it’s regarding that dead horse called “Vilma”, but enough of Manti already. My head’s spinning faster with each “new development” in his case. At this point I actually welcome the return of bounty-gate.

  2. What is the process in the CBA to address willfull misconduct by the commissioner? The commissioner is as human and capable of harmful misconduct as the players and there needs to be a hearing to consider the punishment for his lies.

  3. It’s finally over. Let all parties get over their hurt, pull up their pants and get back to the game.

  4. All those who offered up predictions of “home cooking” and other slander against Judge Berrigan should admit they, well, misjudged her.

  5. I guess Vilma couldn’t prove Goodell’s intent to cause harm anymore than Goodell could prove Vilma’s intent to cause harm.

    So, on a legal level, it’s a wash.

    But I’m glad (and I’m gonna bet that other players in the NFL are glad) that Vilma had the stones to speak up for him self and go up against a Commissioner who has proven himself to be reckless with power–CBA or no CBA.

  6. its not like this is a surprise. Federal judges dont just dismiss cases on a whim. Im sure there was evidential disclosure that led to her dismissing. She took a parting shot at Roger as all Saint fans do. A true Who Dat. So, how much of a stink would arise if upon departing NOLA after presenting Arthur Blank with the Lombardi, that Goodell says that Paytons application for reinstatement is denied until further notice.

  7. The result of this suit matched the level of play from Vilam this year. In the end it made little difference. Enjoy the retirement.

  8. Lookin forward for him to come back next year. Let it go my boy. Its ran its course and I dont want things dragged into next year.

  9. “Saints coach Sean Payton and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will at some point apply for reinstatement. There’s no guarantee their requests will be granted.”

    Lets all hope they are never ever reinstated! Screw these cheaters. The Taints of 2009.

  10. That decision doesn’t make much sense. Judge Berrigan said that Vilma’s status as a team employee meant the CBA barred litigation over anything Vilma did in the course of his employment. So if Vilma says that Goodell molests children in his off hours that would be slanderous but if he says Goodell does in the NFL office on company time, the CBA covers it.

  11. I really don’t like this team much at all, I hope the whole organization suffers from this for a long time

  12. Hahahahahahaha! Justice served! No explanation needed! And don’t think about suing the NFL if you suffer a career-threatening injury.

  13. robert831 says: Jan 17, 2013 7:46 PM

    “Saints coach Sean Payton and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will at some point apply for reinstatement. There’s no guarantee their requests will be granted.”

    Lets all hope they are never ever reinstated! Screw these cheaters. The Taints of 2009.
    Its Over… move on Vikings…you made the playoffs, so build up for the future and stop living in the past

  14. I can’t believe that their are NFL fans out there still whining about us Saints. Get on with your lives haters, we’ll see you folks next season. Lol. Mr. Vilma, we love you man.

  15. So players can be held responsible for lying and misconduct but the commissioner can lie and do whatever he feels that’s great. Keep ruining the game GOODELL you pig. Money goes only so far then one day your sitting by your self and the dark abyss in front of you wishing for gods help to free you of all your sins and lies. Well may god have mercy on your soul commish

  16. This decision is just like the Richard Sherman decision: not on the merits. And just like Sherman, Goodell’s stooges are acting like he was vindicated, which he certainly was not.

  17. Good for the judge. Jonathon Vilma go waste your
    money on another worthless law suit, why not???
    Everyone is sick to death of this, it’s been going on for too long, and no one cares. Gregg Williams should never get another job in the NFl.

  18. Judge Judy is giving a big sigh. She made all her prejudicial threats to Goodell and the NFL all the while holding her breath that it would be settled outside of her courtroom so she could save face. Whether a bountygate ruling or defamation ruling, judge judy knew perfectly well it would only be a temporary ruling as the Federal Appeals Court would’ve overruled her and most likely admonished her specifically for making the prejudicial threats that she made regarding the fact that she was going to find a reason to rule in favor of hometown boy and team. I would bet the farm that in private she has received a tongue lashing from her superiors.

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