SBD/July 12, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Judge Rules Former Players Must Comply With Contract Terms In Workers Comp Case

A federal judge in Louisiana yesterday ruled that eight former Saints players must comply with the terms of their contracts and file workers' compensation claims. The judgment, from the same federal court currently presiding over the bounty cases, affirmed an arbitrator’s August '11 award in favor of the NFL and Saints and against the players. The league then filed the lawsuit against the players and the NFLPA to enforce the decision. The NFLPA contends that despite the language of the contracts requiring them to file workers' compensation claims in the Saints’ home state, the players should be allowed to file in worker-friendly California because that state’s laws supersede private contracts. The written decision in the case has not been filed, but a one-page order from Judge Kurt Engelhardt showed he has denied the NFLPA’s request to set aside the arbitrator's decision. The NFLPA can appeal the case. The union recently dropped the appeal of a similar case in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Pro Football HOFer Bruce Matthews also has an appeal pending in the Ninth Circuit. In that case, a lower court ruled Tennessee law must be used in deciding Matthews' workers compensation claim. An attorney for the NFLPA could not immediately be reached for comment.
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