Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Eighth Circuit Nixes NFL Retirees' Benefits Lawsuit

Are you ready for some football?  I may not have any football to share or play, but I bring some news of the sport... 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on Monday threw out a class action filed by National Football League retirees who claimed they were squeezed out of a deal negotiated amid the 2011 player lockout.  The court affirmed a lower court's dismissal, finding that the retirees failed to show they could have negotiated a deal better than the $900 million in additional retiree benefits the agreement utimately yielded. 

The National Law Journal provides some details about the suit:

The plaintiffs, a group of 28 retired players led by former  Minnesota Viking Carl Eller, sued the National Football League Players  Association in 2011. The lawsuit also named players union members including New  England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Filed in Minnesota district court, the class action claimed  that the union, in reaching a collective bargaining agreement with the NFL two  years ago, intentionally interfered with the retirees’ ability to negotiate with  the NFL, which led to fewer retirement benefits than they could have gotten had  they bargained separately.

In March 2011, the inability of the NFL and the union to reach  an agreement on pay caps and other issues resulted in a lockout, which was  lifted on July 25 of that year when the parties reached a 10-year  deal.

Writing for the appeals panel, Judge James Loken wrote that "the retired players had no reasonable expectation of a separate,  prospective contractual relation with the NFL that would provide them greater  player benefits than the NFL agreed to provide in the new CBA."





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