As expected, the NFL filed its response to former Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit on Wednesday. As expected, the league takes the position that the case should be thrown out of court.
The league has filed a pair of motions. One to dismiss the lawsuit on the merits. Another to force the litigation into arbitration.
The motion to dismiss calls Gruden’s lawsuit “baseless,” and it argues that the case “should be dismissed for failure to state a single viable cause of action.” In other words, the league claims that, even if all of Gruden’s allegations are true, there’s nothing under the law that can be done about it.
The motion calls Gruden’s claims a “made-up conspiracy theory” that the league leaked Gruden’s emails to Washington executive Bruce Allen in an effort to hurt Gruden. More specifically, the NFL argues that the truth of the information disseminated by the league is a defense to any claims of intentional interference with his business relationships, that the NFL was not prohibited from disclosing emails he voluntarily sent to Allen, and that Gruden has not sufficiently alleged that the NFL engaged in any type of actionable negligence.
The separate motion to compel arbitration focuses on Gruden’s employment contract and the NFL’s Constitution and Bylaws. The argument is simple; the league believes Gruden doesn’t have the right to pursue his claims in court.
Gruden will now have an opportunity to file a response to these motions. Eventually, oral arguments likely will be held. The league could secure an outright victory, or it could force Gruden to pursue relief via arbitration, a forum far more favorable to big-money interests that hope to avoid a jury of regular people who would have the power to hold the league accountable for its alleged misbehavior.