Fifth Circuit ruling possible in Elliott case on Monday

Getty Images

The NFL the NFL Players Association head to a federal appeals court on Monday regarding the effort by the league either to stay the injunction that blocks the Ezekiel Elliott suspension or to dismiss entirely the Texas lawsuit that led to the injunction. Per an NFL source, the league believes it’s possible that the court will rule from the bench.

If the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issues a decision during the hearing that dismisses the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the federal lawsuit filed by the NFL in federal court in Manhattan will most likely proceed immediately. The league anticipates that Elliott and the NFLPA will then try to get the same injunction from the New York court that was secured in Texas. Absent that injunction (and the league believes its ultimate success in the Tom Brady litigation could block that injunction), the suspension would begin as soon as Week Five.

While it’s impossible to know what any court will do in any given case, the league is pleased with the fact that the appeals court scheduled oral argument on the issue, and that the court sought separate written argument on the question of whether jurisdiction exists in the Texas federal court. Those steps are interpreted as a sign that the court is taking seriously the question of whether the case should be dismissed.

The NFL’s primary argument continues to be that Elliott filed the lawsuit too soon, before his internal appeal had concluded.

Perhaps the best news for the NFL is that the three-judge panel, pursuant to the loose (and often unreliable) political assessment of federal judges, consists of two nominated by Republican presidents and one nominated by a Democrat. Judge Edward C. Prado was nominated by President George W. Bush, Judge James E. Graves, Jr. was nominated by President Barack Obama, and Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod was nominated by President George W. Bush.

Judges nominated by Republican presidents tend to be conservative (and thus pro-business) in their rulings and reasoning, and judges nominated by Democratic presidents tend to be progressive (and thus pro-employee) in their rulings and reasoning. Although this case is hardly a typical employment dispute, given the annual compensation of the plaintiff, the principles used to resolve this case will be relevant to future cases involving individuals who are making far less money than Elliott is.

In a case where two votes wins, and if political realities hold, the NFL may already have the votes that it needs.

16 responses to “Fifth Circuit ruling possible in Elliott case on Monday

  1. >The NFL’s primary argument continues to be that Elliott filed the lawsuit too soon, before his internal appeal had concluded.

    What does that matter? The same guy that levied it wasn’t going to reduce it from 6 to 0, which is then the purpose of all this. Won’t the courts see through that?

  2. I wish Elliott hadn’t been suspended, but I can’t see how he prevails in the Fifth Circuit. As obvious as it was that his suspension was going to be upheld, he still had to wait until it was final before he could file with the courts; that’s just basic civil procedure.

  3. realityonetwo says:
    September 29, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Elliott did what, again, to warrant a six-game suspension?

    He was the next man up for Goodell.

  4. The NFL is a) dreaming, and b) they better hope the 5th circuit doesn’t rule from the bench because that would most likely mean they are upholding things as they currently are.

    The court has no incentive to lift the injunction- If it is the NFL’s position that the suspension will happen eventually, so there is no way they can prove that any harm is being done to the league by delaying the suspension. Elliot, on the other hand, can certainly make the case that if the suspension is served before the matter is adjudicated, especially if the suspension is eventually overturned, that it is harming him by making him miss games in the prime of his career.

    Long story short, if I were a betting man, I would say the injunction will be upheld.

  5. The question remains: what will it take for Zeke to actually be suspended?
    Will he have to kill somebody first?

  6. The appeal was orchastrated exactly the way Zeke’s camp said that it would, mainly that the nfl had no intention of providing a fair arbitration and asked the court to wait until the appeals verdict was announced to hear their case–this was done to counter the nfl’s lawyers who were also lining up to file suit (in similar manner–and I ask why? again, does the nfl need to file suit if the so called cba gives them power to do what they want, short answer–it doesnt), at their court of choice–exactly the way they had done in the Brady case–and Kessler(who also rep’d Brady), utilized the lessons learned in that case to maneuver ahead of the nfl in this case. So far for those following its Kessler 2, nfl 0–and I would just like to add, suck it Goodell.

  7. I don’t believe that this issue is one of Justice delayed is justice denied.

    The Texas court should hold sway over this case, and I don’t think the New York Federal Court System will let the NFL squirm out of the proceedings down south.

    But if they do, I still see them granting the injunction against the suspension because there is an actual case to be argued before the court regarding the unfair arbitration hearing that Zeke faced a few weeks ago. Zeke has actual damages that could be in play, whereas the NFL really doesn’t.

  8. wimpyburgers says:
    September 29, 2017 at 2:09 pm
    The question remains: what will it take for Zeke to actually be suspended?
    Will he have to kill somebody first?


    Well, in a fair world, if he’s going to be suspended for doing a particular act off the field, how about reasonable proof that he did the act alleged? Or a criminal justice process? Or a civil court action for damages? Of course, In the NFL world, none of those seem to mean anything.

    If the NFL wants to suspend him for conduct unbecoming, then just say so and do it. They can always point to exposing a woman’s breast, speeding, being present at a bar fight and being accused of domestic violence as reasons for that. Incompetent investigations and blatantly unfair “arbitrations” just make the NFL and Elliott look bad. And damage the shield.

  9. The 5th circuit is indeed conservative but given how PC Goodell and the league have become, it wouldn’t be surprising for them to toss the case back to the TX district court to let the record develop on Elliott’s claims that he was treated unfairly. He’s in effect arguing that Goodell is afraid of feminists and will punish anyone accused of domestic violence regardless of the evidence. A conservative court may well look askance at that.

  10. wimpyburgers says:
    September 29, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    The question remains: what will it take for Zeke to actually be suspended?
    Will he have to kill somebody first?

    Knowing Roger, he would suspend him for killing someone. A year later, when the person turned up alive, Roger would still suspend him.

  11. bondlake says:
    September 29, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Hey, Zeke, remember that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

    Did you get that one from Smokey the Bear?

  12. On the off chance that the Cowboys make the playoffs, Jerry maybe upset that Zeke didn’t just accept his suspension and serve at the start of the season.

    Missing the playoffs is a distinct possibility.

  13. They should prevail in the 5th court. The CBA allows for Goodell to do what he wants, and if I recall it doesn’t say anything about fair. That being stated a couple thoughts

    1. If Goodell had stated that they found that Zeke’s conduct has been detrimental to the NFL, which it undoubtedly has, guilty or not guilty doesn’t matter it has negatively impacted the league then we most likely wouldn’t be having this issue right now.

    2. I keep seeing people trying to equate this to the legal system. It isn’t, this is a private business conglomerate handling a case of misconduct. There really isn’t / shouldn’t be any legal precedent in this other than what the CBA allows. I keep hearing about fair / not fair but in reality how does that play into it? Zeke went out and got someone to the point that they filed charges on him. This became public and during the investigation got more negative publicity. How is that fair to the players that didn’t do those things, as they get lumped in with the players like Zeke unless something happens to differentiate them, ie the suspension.

    It is better for the league and the other players for Zeke and / or players that mess up like this to get suspended so that there isn’t a backlash against all of the players.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!