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Goodell Files With Court To Stay Discovery In Vilma’s Defamation Suit

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today asked a Louisiana federal court to prevent Peter Ginsberg, the attorney for Saints LB Jonathan Vilma, from seeking discovery as part of Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against the commissioner. Vilma is suing the commissioner as part of the linebacker being named by the league in the alleged bounty scandal. The filings today said Vilma, through Ginsberg, wants to depose Goodell on Oct. 23, and has already subpoenaed former Saints coaches Mike Cerullo and Gregg Williams, as well as league investigator Joe Hummel, seeking documents and their appearances at depositions.

Goodell’s motion for staying discovery cites two reasons. First, the commissioner has sought to have the suit dismissed, and argues that under federal law, discovery cannot proceed until that motion is ruled on by the court. Secondly, Judge Helen Berrigan had suspended the lawsuit until the outcome of the CBA appeals panel process. That panel has essentially stayed Goodell’s suspensions of Vilma and three other players for their alleged role in placing bounties on opposing players until the commissioner clarifies the reasoning behind his decision. Goodell can than re-issue suspensions, if he so chooses.
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