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8th Circuit Court Of Appeals Opts To Keep NFL Lockout In Place

The NFL won a significant victory at the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals last night, with the court keeping in place the lockout and strongly suggesting it would ultimately overturn a lower court’s decision declaring the lockout illegal. Nine active players sued the NFL, seeking a ruling the lockout was illegal because the NFLPA had decertified. The decision could shift the dynamics of the 67-day lockout, with the owners for the first time securing leverage.

“In sum, we have serious doubts that the district court had jurisdiction to enjoin the League’s lockout, and accordingly conclude that the League has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits,” two members of the three-judge panel wrote. The third dissented. The two judges seemed to accept the league’s argument that the lower court, which ruled for the players April 25, was constrained by the Norris-LaGuardia Act from involving itself in a labor dispute. In fact, the two judges used harsh language to describe their opinion of the lower court, using phrases like “we have serious doubts,” “we struggle … to see,” and “raise serious questions.”

It is unclear how this decision will affect the second day of mediated talks between the NFL and players in Minnesota federal court starting this morning.

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