Jon Gruden sued the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell four weeks ago tomorrow. Soon, the NFL and Goodell will be responding to Gruden’s complaint.
In most jurisdictions, the initial filing in response to a civil complaint becomes due 30 days after service of process. If it was served on November 11, 12, or 13, the due date for a response will be Monday, December 13.
The deadline can be extended by stipulation of the parties, and sometimes it is. Eventually, the party defending against a civil lawsuit files the initial response.
A potential removal to federal court remains possible; however, the fact that the NFL is an unincorporated trade association apparently makes the league a resident of every state in which it has a franchise. A motion to dismiss is possible if not likely; if there’s any plausible argument to be made for pushing the case from litigation to arbitration, the NFL will give it a try.
At some point and in some forum, the league will have to respond to Gruden’s allegations. The NFL undoubtedly will do so, aggressively. It will deny all factual allegations regarding the deliberate leaking of Gruden’s emails to former Washington executive Bruce Allen. It will assert multiple “affirmative defenses” aimed at defeating or minimizing Gruden’s claims based on issues unrelated to whether the league did what it’s accused of doing.
Whatever the NFL does, this controversy will likely linger for months. Possibly years. Unless there’s a settlement between the two sides.