Judge Orders Lawyers To Drop Two Lawsuits Against NFL Films
Declaring the “conscience” of the court had been shocked, a Minnesota federal court judge ordered lawyers to withdraw two lawsuits against NFL Films, saying they violated an injunction against such actions while the settlement in the Dryer v NFL case proceeded. Hundreds of players have filed papers to opt out of the Dryer settlement (including Fred Dryer), and last month many of them signed onto two new lawsuits against NFL Films – Culp v NFL and Tatum v NFL, which by itself purports to represent 550 former players.
The players allege NFL Films is not paying them for their images. Judge Paul Magnuson, though, said the lawyers for Culp and Tatum, some of whom are involved in Dryer, should have known they could not file such suits.
“As officers of the Court, lawyers are expected to follow court orders, and given the dearth of case law discussing similar situations, it is apparent that most lawyers do so,” Magnuson wrote. “The lawyers here, however, believe themselves not subject to such strictures. As stated at the status conference, their behavior, which is calculated only to doom the settlement in this matter, shocks the Court’s conscience.”
The players opposing the $50M settlement of the four-year-old Dryer lawsuit contend it gives away their images for nothing, and the settlement money goes to player charities that all former players could have applied to in any event.