The players filed an injunction in an effort to block an NFL lockout on Friday as part of two pieces of litigation that have been expected all along. One — an antitrust lawsuit — is the big lawsuit with the potential to be the type of legal action that forces a compromise in the new collective bargaining agreement negotiations. The antitrust suit won’t be settled overnight, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how long it will take before a resolution is reached.
The injunction, formally a preliminary injunction seeking to halt a work stoppage, should take significantly less time to sort out. The process is quick, and could be decided upon in the next week. Pro Football Talk explained what the injunction is and what it means for the lockout this morning, bebunking a few of the myths.
A motion for preliminary injunction can be resolved in a matter of days, or in a matter of weeks. At this point, no one knows how quickly, or how slowly, the federal court in Minnesota will move. If, as the league fully expects, the case will be assigned to Judge David Doty based on his 20-plus-years of expertise in NFL labor matters, Doty would then schedule a hearing — and he could issue a ruling from the bench at the end of the hearing, or at some point thereafter.
Doty has been presiding over the other legal battles thus far, overruling an earlier opinion on television revenue during the lockout and preventing owners from keeping a steady source of income during a work stoppage. Having Doty take the injunction would likely be good news for the players, who have already won an important legal battle with his revenue ruling. It’s yet unknown whether he would also take the antitrust case.
So while a lockout is in place as of now, it may not be the case next week. If Doty, or whoever takes the case, puts the injunction in place, the lockout would, effectively, end for the duration of the injunction. If the union played its cards right, the players are in a perfect position to gain an injunction while also winning the potential antitrust case. It remains to be seen whether that’s the case, though.
For the latest on the work stoppage, check out our NFL lockout StoryStream.