The first legal victory goes to the side of the players today, as Judge Susan Nelson lifts the lockout imposed on the players by the NFL owners, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
In this report from SB Nation, the owners are expected to immediately request a stay on the implementation so that they can file a motion with the Court of Appeals.
[UPDATE}Per the Yahoo! Sports report, the judge has already denied the stay.[/UPDATE}
(hat tip to BTB member Rena)
NFL.com's Jason LaConfora had this reaction, via Twiter, to the ruling:
The decision by Judge Nelson not surprising. The appeals court may take a more conservative view of the case. That process could take months
We've all expected this for the last week or so as well. As was discussed in the comments sections over the weekend, how great would it be to have the frenetic football activity should the judge deny the stay?
We'll keep an eye out for additional developments.
[UPDATE] ProFootballTalk has gotten the 89 page ruling and has highlights. Follow the jump.
Here’s the full text of the final portion of the written decision, under the heading “order.”
“The nation’s labor laws have always applied only where an action involves or grows out of a labor dispute. Such a labor relationship exists only where a union exists to bargain on behalf of its members. Where those employees effectively renounce the union as their collective bargaining agent — and accept the consequences of doing so — and elect to proceed in negotiating contracts individually, any disputes between the employees and their employers are no longer governed by federal labor law. Likewise, the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which applies only to preclude some injunctions in the context of ‘labor disputes,’ also no longer applies here to preclude injunctive relief. The NFL urges this Court to expand the law beyond these traditional dictates and argues that the protections of labor law should apply for some indefinite period beyond the collapse and termination of the collective bargaining relationship. In the absence of either persuasive policy or authority, this Court takes a more conservative approach, and declines to do so.
“This Court, having found that the Union’s unequivocal disclaimer is valid and effective, concludes there is no need to defer any issue to the NLRB. Because that disclaimer is valid and effective, the Norris-LaGuardia Act’s prohibition against injunctive relief does not preclude granting the Player’s motion for a preliminary
injunction against what the League characterizes as a ‘lockout.’
“Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records and proceedings herein, IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED that:
“1. The Brady Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction [Doc. No. 2] is
“2. The Eller Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction [Doc. No. 58] is
“3. The ‘lockout’ is enjoined.”