Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The 8th Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, has recently vacated the district court's preliminary injunction against the NFL lockout. In short, the court held that the district court lacked power to issue the injunction because the lockout and dispute surrounding it constituted a labor dispute under the Norris-LaGuardia Act, even though the NFLPA decertified. The dissenting judge disagreed with that conclusion and would've held that the lack of a union was significant and, contrary to the majority, that the act does not apply to injunctions against employers. The court did hold that the act didn't bar an injunction against free agents and prospective players, who are not in any employment relationship. But, because the entire injunction did not comply with the act's procedural requirements, it was all vacated.
Given what looks like more movement towards a deal, this may be academic for the NFL. But it could obviously have a big impact in future disputes, both in the NFL and other sports (NBA, we're looking at you).
Hat Tip: Dennis Walsh