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April 10, 2013 10:38 AM
Less than an hour before the arguments were set to begin, the lines began to move, but the effect was still there. The courtroom was hot — so much so that Judge Anita Brody said the lawyers could take their jackets off. The retirees’ counsel, David Frederick, did so. The NFL’s Paul Clement did not. Brody joked about what she might — or might not — have on under her robe.
I had not planned to be in the courtroom. In fact, no reporters were expected to be there, other than the court reporter. The court clerk had warned me the day before that I would be lucky to get into the overflow room. The actual courtroom was reserved for plaintiffs’ firms, league executives, retirees and their families — about 80 people in all. So I went to the overflow room and took my seat. But five minutes before the hearing began, the clerk came in and pointed to one of us, and then counted down the row to 10. I was No. 10. We 10 were getting into the courtroom.
So who was there? Not as many big names as one might have hoped for on such a significant occasion. No commissioner, no past commissioner, no union executives, no owners. Yes, there was some big-time legal talent in the room arguing the case and on the sidelines, but even the retirees in attendance were not of the name-dropping sort. Dorsey Levens, Jeff Nixon and Bill Bergey led the list.
For more on the arguments made during the hearing, see my report in Tuesday’s Closing Bell.