The 8th Circuit has granted the NFL owners’ request for an expedited appeal on the lockout stay, and it will be heard on June 3rd in St. Louis.

One of the issues on the lockout stay is the claim of irreparable harm, which seems to me will be difficult to prove.

The schedule of events will be as follows:

  • Monday May 9: NFL’s appeal brief is due
  • Thursday May 12: TV damages hearing
  • Monday May 16: Mediation
  • Friday May 20: Player’s response is due
  • Thursday May 26: NFL’s response is due
  • Friday June 3: Appeal hearing before Judges Bye, Colloton and Benton, which will include 30-minute oral arguments from both sides.

For the moment this does not change the lockout – though that could change in the next 48 hours.  The expedited appeal could help the owners with the stay; it could be seen as less irreparable harm since the season is still three months away. The stay could conceivably still be denied, which would allow the league year to begin – with the league looking to shut the doors again with the appeal.  That is because if the stay is denied then the league year begins – and with it offseason programs, trades, and free agency.

Back when Judge Nelson denied the stay, part of the reasoning was that the appeal could last for months. At the time she said it was unlikely that the appeal would be heard before the start of the season; with an expedited schedule that is no longer the case.

The bottom line is that this is good news; it’s better than having the case drag on for months throughout what is usually an NFL season. A regular court schedule would have given the NFL at least six weeks to file an opening brief – and in all likelihood it would have been much longer than that. Everything is going to be expedited – including the ruling.

As for the stay, expect a ruling on that issue by Thursday.


Stay tuned …