Tom Brady and NFLPA were dealt a crushing blow today when their suit against the NFL was transferred from Minnesota to Manhattan by the Honorable Richard H. Kyle. Manhattan is where the NFL filed its declaratory judgment suit to affirm upholding Tom Brady’s four game suspension on Tuesday.
Here are 3 domino effects of that ruling:
1. Tom Brady, NFLPA lost their best legal mechanism to get NFL’s case dismissed.
I discussed yesterday Tom Brady had a fighting chance in his own court with use of the anticipatory suit exception. That exception was a great tool Tom Brady could use to show Roger Goodell and the NFL intentionally brought their declarative action as a direct result of Tom Brady and the NFLPA threatening the sue if Brady’s 4 game suspension was upheld.
In order to use the exception, there needs to actually be a second suit.
With no case in Minnesota, the head has fallen right off the hammer.
2. Appealing the transfer would be impracticable.
Appeal of transfer of venue cannot be heard until a case is heard on its merits. Tom Brady and the NFLPA would have to wait until after the case versus the NFL is heard in Manhattan to appeal.
With a short time before the regular season starting, it would defeat the purpose of battling through the existing case versus the NFL and then try to appeal the matter if Tom Brady is trying to get back on the field as soon as possible.
The process could itself take longer than it would to just sit out the suspension.
3. Appealing the transfer would be highly unlikely to succeed.
A district court’s order to transfer venue can only be appealed on extraordinary cases of clear abuse of discretion or usurpation of judicial power. Usually an abuse of discretion for venue transfer involves where a judge unduly burdens a party where the transaction at issue and the party resides in venue where the case has been transferred from.
Judge Richard Kyle stated in his 4 page opinion his rationale there was “little reason for this action to have been commenced in Minnesota at all,” adding “Tom Brady plays in Massachusetts, the union is headquartered in Washington and the NFL in New York…the arbitration proceedings took place in New York and the award was issued in New York.”
Although Judge Kyle’s ruling was not artful in spots (using a strange analogy to venues where racial discrimination is brought against a large corporation), the ruling was not an abuse of discretion.
Bottom Line: Tom Brady and the NFLPA have to fight on NFL’s home turf.
Roger Goodell sat back in the pocket and let the NFL’s lawyers take their time running a brilliant legal pick play of upholding Brady’s appeal and filing for declarative relief in the place where NFL offices reside.
Now that a Minnesota court has failed to cover, Tom Brady and the NFLPA have to scurry back on defense to devise a new strategy.
It’s either fight on or accept the penalty and hit the showers.
Accepting a punishment now after all of the gamesmanship would be truly deflating for NFLPA precedent, Tom Brady, and Patriots fans.
Exavier B. Pope I, Esq. is an award winning attorney, on air legal analyst, media personality, and Fortune 500 speaker. Mr. Pope has over 200+ appearances on air, including: international television on BBC and Al Jazeera English; national television on Fox News Channel, HLN, NBC Nightly News, Al Jazeera America, WGN Morning News, Fox Business Channel, and Huff Post Live; Top 3 Local Media Markets on Fox, CBS, and NBC; international radio on BBC Radio; national radio on ESPN Radio, Clear Channel Radio, NBC Sports Radio; contributed digitally to CNBC, Huffington Post, Jet, and Black Enterprise; and has appeared in other media outlets nationally and internationally. Mr. Pope is represented by top media and literary agency RLR Associates. All opinions expressed are those solely of Mr. Pope.
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