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Early Returns: Judge Nelson seems to be on the side of mediation

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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Our friend Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe has been killing it on Twitter, giving up timely updates about the Brady v. NFL hearing going on today in Minnesota District Court, which Judge Susan Richard Nelson presiding. The two sides argued through the morning, with Judge Nelson asking questions, and Bedard keps everyone well-informed during breaks (apparently, tweeting is not allowed on the courtroom). His Twitter feed is a must-follow anytime, but especially now.

According to Bedard, most of the early discussion was about whether the court had jurisdiction over the case, or whether it should be sent to the National Labor Relations Board, who has not yet made a ruling on the NFL's contention that the NFLPA's recent decertification was a sham. Nelson told David Boies, counsel for the league, that the NLRB's investigator has the complaint "on his desk".

Bedard said that Nelson may first rule on jurisdiction, and then handle the arguments for a possible injunction against the current lockout. Regarding the issue of financial harm, Nelson was quoted as saying that the players seemed to have a good case, and she then asked both sides why they were not still in discussions.

Nelson did say that no matter the circumstances, she's having a difficult time with the concept of a lockout being legal after a decertification, which may mean that she's attending to the issues at hand more than the "sham decertification" argument. Nelson specifically asked the NFL's counsel why they're not in negotiations instead of, as Bedard put it, in the courtroom "not paying the players."

Nelson then said that she was very well-prepared for the case (not sure what that was in response to; you don't usually have a judge just blurt out that he or she is prepared for a case); and that this was all she had studied for the last two weeks.

After a break, Noies told Nelson that she didn't have jurisdiction to stop a lockout, saying, ""No court shall have the jurisdiction to issue a restraining or temporary or permanent junction ... in any case involving or growing out of a labor dispute." (per USA Today)

We're sure Nelson loved that. We'll have more details as they come across the wire … or in this case, the Twitter.

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