Blog Entry

The issue of irreparable harm in court ruling

Posted on: May 16, 2011 8:20 pm
 
Posted by Josh Katzowitz

One of the factors used by the Eighth Circuit of Appeals in rendering its decision to permanently stay the lockout injunction today was the issue that District Court Judge Susan Nelson, who ended the lockout with the injunction, believed the players were the ones who were harmed the most.
NFL Labor


The appeals court could see both sides of the equation. It understood that the owners feel they’ll be harmed by the injunction because maintaining the lockout is key to their negotiating strategy against the players and the loss of leverage really hurts their cause – not to mention that opening up free agency would be harmful if the lockout is put back into place (the old “unscrambling the egg” analogy).

It also could sympathize with the players’ position in which they said they are being harmed by not being allowed to practice, learn their playbooks, work out at the team facilities, and take treatment by the team’s medical staffs – not to mention the 900 free agents whose employment status is up in the air.

Here’s how the majority opinion and the dissenting opinion felt about the issue of irreparable harm and which party – the owners or the players – were the ones being hurt the most.

Here are the opinions of Judges Steven Colloton and Duane Benton:

Both sides raise valid points, and this is a case in which one party or the other likely will suffer some degree of irreparable harm no matter how this court resolves the motion for a stay pending appeal. We do not agree, however, with the district court’s apparent view that the balance of the equities tilts heavily in favor of the Players. The district court gave little or no weight to the harm caused to the League by an injunction issued in the midst of an ongoing dispute over terms and conditions of employment. The court found irreparable harm to the Players because the lockout prevents free agents from negotiating contracts with any team, but gave no weight to harm that would be caused to the League by player transactions that would occur only with an injunction against the lockout. The court gave full weight to affidavit evidence submitted by the Players, although that proof was untested by cross-examination at a hearing. The district court’s analysis was conducted without the benefit of knowledge that this appeal will be submitted for decision on a highly expedited schedule – a circumstance that should minimize harm to the Players during the off-season and allow the case to be resolved well before the scheduled beginning of the 2011 season.


Here’s how the dissenting opinion saw the issue:

The irreparable harm alleged by the NFL “must be actual and not theoretical.” Moreover, the NFL cannot meet its burden if it demonstrates only economic loss, unless “the loss threatens the very existence of the [NFL’s] business,” because “economic loss does not, in and of itself, constitute irreparable harm."
Judge Kermit Bye also took issue with the NFL’s contention that the injunction harms the owners because it skews the advantage in collective bargain toward the players, writing, “Given that the parties will not likely return to the bargaining table prior to our resolution of this expedited appeal, at which point we will determine whether the district court properly enjoined the lockout, the NFL’s claim that it will suffer a loss of bargaining power in this interim period does not amount to ‘proof indicating that the harm is certain to occur in the near future’ for purposes of a stay pending appeal.”

And as far as who will suffer more harm – the players or the owners? Bye sided with the NFLPA:

Whatever harm may be said to befall the NFL during the pendency of the expedited appeal stands in stark contrast to the irreparable harm suffered by the Players. Regardless of the preclusion of free agency effectuated under the lockout and its influence on the Players, there can be little dispute that the off-season is an abundantly busy period for veterans and rookies alike. Even the brief stay occasioned during this expedited appeal will deprive the Players of “irreplaceable opportunities to develop their skills as football players and to otherwise advance their NFL careers.” … It follows that even the abbreviated harm fashioned by the stay will obviate the Players’  opportunities to engage in any of these off-season necessities, which could have dramatic repercussions to the Players’ careers in the long term.

Further, none of this harm can be adequately compensated by monetary damages.

Due to the irreparable harm presently incurred by the Players, compared with the limited harm, if any, suffered by the NFL, I believe the balance of harms weighs heavily in the Players’ favor. Consequently, I would require the NFL to satisfy a heavier burden of showing it is likely to prevail on the merits.


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Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 8, 2012 7:39 pm
 

The issue of irreparable harm in court ruling

My family and i totally aren't able to link up with yourself Feed. You should encourage?


fghdfre
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 3, 2012 7:07 am
This comment has been removed.

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hgtrerte
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:59 am
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Since: Mar 20, 2010
Posted on: May 22, 2011 12:21 pm
 

The issue of irreparable harm in court ruling

"How can anyone feel bad for the players! There making millions to play a sport! There is health care and retirement plans!" -  (posted on: May 17, 2011 11:05 am)


None of which the players would have if these things were left up to the owners; these benefits were obtained through the collective bargaining process, which the current crop of owners have abandoned while refusing to provide evidence to substantiate their poormouthing.





"The average person pays for there own health care and retirement plan! Why should these men be treated differently? And if anyone says because of the risks they take i will laugh at u! There are many jobs that are much more dangerous than football. Military personel risk much more and when they retire they recieve maybe 50% of there final pay grade, which if there luck is around $2,500.00 a month depending on there rank and if they were enlisted or commisioned." -  (posted on: May 17, 2011 11:05 am)


So what does all of this have to do with anything? The owner of the local hardware store may take home $75,000 a year - why should owners of NFL football teams require more? Why do you want to hold players to a comparable standard but not the owners?





"The point is some how we started feeling bad for these lucky men that play a sport for a living and feel underappreciated for it.... [T]he owners actually paid hundreds of millions to be part of this league and have everything to lose if there investment goes sour. If the players fail they just leave with the money they already made." -  (posted on: May 17, 2011 11:05 am)



I don't think you really know what the point is. The average NFL player has a career of three years or less, despite having invested thousands of hours of unpaid time and much money developing his craft in high school and college. For a career that may last three years and which leaves many players permanently injured from concussions, wrecked knees, backs and the like.

The players deserve to make as much money as they can given the short time their playing "careers" last. Most of the owners are playing with taxpayers' money and reaping the profits from guaranteed TV contracts - the current one being a case in point. The owners put very little at risk, certainly none that wasn't laid out under an existing collective bargaining agreement the terms of which were right in front of there eyes. If an owner screw that up it's due to his own stupidity, ego and folly.







"The work dynamic has always been the owner of the company makes the majority of the money and the employees make a generous salary if possible. Otherwise whats the benefit of being the owner..." -  (posted on: May 17, 2011 11:05 am)



You're just full of nonsense. The world you portray is a sickly romanticized view of the world of the robber barons of The Guilded Age.

In most of the rest of the modern industrialized world the breakdown between the money that goes to the workers and to the owners is negotiated through collective bargaining. Which is what the NFLPA (the players' union) was doing on behalf of the players until the owners unilaterally abandoned the process while refusing to substantiate their poormouthing.

No individual laborer (such as an NFL player) has a chance while negotiating against an organized ownership. Thus the arrival of the players' union and the collective bargaining process - until the owners recently abandoned that process of their own volition.

No one forces an owner to pay his payers too much money. If he pays them too much in an era of guaranteed TV revenue it's due to the owners' own stupidity. The owners need to lie in the beds they make. If they're losing too much money they can always sell their team.

The benefit of being an owner isn't in profit; it's in the glory that comes from putting together a championship team. No one buys an NFL team as an investment to make money off of (though many ownership groups do end up making hundreds of millions when they eventually sell their teams).

You seem to have a very slavish view of the world, , in which you expect people to prostrate themselves in front of those born into or having otherwise acquired investment capital. You can keep that view - to yourself; it's not one that I share or wish on anybody. The proper distribution of wealth between workers and owners is that which is negotiated through collective bargaining with the free and open exchange of financial information.




Since: Mar 20, 2010
Posted on: May 22, 2011 11:17 am
 

The issue of irreparable harm in court ruling

"The players are the party who have precipitated this action in the courts." -  (posted on: May 16, 2011 9:25 p)



Wrong. Absoulutely wrong. The owners precipitated the current state of affairs by refusing to open their books and prove their case to the players under the existing collective bargaining agreement, by unilaterally abandoning that agreement, and by locking out the players. The players were in a collective bargaining agreement until the owners abrogated it despite the fact that, from all available evidence, the owners were making billions. Apparently not enough billions for some.

The blame for the current state of affairs falls squarely on the shoulders of the owners.




Since: Mar 20, 2010
Posted on: May 22, 2011 11:04 am
 

The issue of irreparable harm in court ruling

"The owners would laugh their buttocks off as these guys applications for loans are denied one after the other."

"[B]esides, they know better than any how little teams and owners actually bring in" -  (posted on: May 16, 2011 9:28 pm)



Bless us, [I]rregardless, withyour next infallible prognostication - we await with bated breath.

Do you even have a clue in this matter? Apparently you're not paying any attention as the players have been asking all along for the owners to open their books to them - to no avail of course. Gee, I wonder why that is? If the owners were losing as much monsy as they claimed, what do they have to hide from the players? No wonder the players aren't buying it.

Dolt. 



Since: Mar 20, 2010
Posted on: May 22, 2011 10:50 am
 

The issue of irreparable harm in court ruling

CORRECTED


"So why didn't the dissenting judge [blah, blah, blah] ,,," -  (posted on: May 16, 2011 9:19 pm)

Do you even know, "" the differrence between a liberal, a progressive, a conservative - or even which way is up?

First of all: there's no such word as "" (your user-name herein); the word is regardless. But you're going to tell us you knew that.

But most importantly I'll explain the impeccable logic of Judge Bye's dissent for you: all Judge Bye (apparently the only Appeals Court Judge looking at the facts, the relevant law and the merits of the case before him in an unbiased manner) is saying is that the issue at hand is whether, in the time from the request of the stay of Circuit Court Judge Nelson's original injunction against the owners until the hearing of the appeal of her decision on the enjoined activity (i.e. the owners' lock-out of the players), will the owners or players suffer irreparable economic harm?

Since the owners aren't paying the players anything right now, it's difficult to argue the owners will suffer any economic harm in the meantime, much less the kind of catastrophic "loss [that] threatens the very existence of the [NFL’s] business" that the law requires be compared to the harm to be suffered by the players over the same time period. In the absence of of any such harm, in comparison with the losses to be suffered by the players over the same time due to their being locked out of the facilities they need access to in order to maintain their skills, Judge Bye obviously found the owners' argument lacking and rendered his dissent accordingly, albeit to no avail in light of the intransigence born of the obtuseness and pro-ownership bias obvious in his colleagues.

As for your second quote of Judge Bye, the only negotiating that's going on now is that forced by District Court Judge Nelson to continue despite the fact that the players' side in those negotiations is being conducted by a party the players have certified no longer represents it. Furthermore these negotiations would not be occurring if Judge Bye's two other colleagues were capable of following the logic of his dissent i.e. if they concurred with him in making "permanent"  Judge Nelson's injunction.

The disturbing part about Appeals Court Judges Colloton and Benton's majority opinion is that, while there's a legitiame issue as to whether either side's losses in the meantime are "irreparable", they seem to be basing their concurring decision largely on what they claim is the likelihood of the eventuality of the owners' ultimately prevailing on the lockout issue, for that "logic" is counter to numerous published overviews this situation by respected legal authorities. But I guess the pretense of legal "conservatism" - i.e. applying extant case law on a precedential basis - only applies to the side in a matter presenting a rendition of the facts that gives succor to your predilections.

For logic and language as flawed and incoherent as yours, "Irregardless", I'd be real stingy (or, as your ilk likes to mischaracterize it, "conservative") in dragging up from the depths of your miasmic mind such words and phrases as "moron" and "creep[ing] out of the backwoods".


 



Since: Mar 20, 2010
Posted on: May 22, 2011 10:40 am
 

The issue of irreparable harm in court ruling

"So why didn't the dissenting judge [blah, blah, blah] ,,," -  (posted on: May 16, 2011 9:19 pm)

Do you even know, "" the differrence between a liberal, a progressive, a conservative - or even which way is up?

First of all: there's no such word as "" (your user-name herein); the word is regardless. But you're going to tell us you knew that.

But most importantly I'll explain the impeccable logic of Judge Bye's dissent for you: all Judge Bye (apparently the only Appeals Court Judge looking at the facts, the relevant law and the merits of the case before him in an unbiased manner) is saying is that the issue at hand is whether, in the time from the request of the stay of Circuit Court Judge Nelson's original injunction against the owners until the hearing of the appeal of her decision on the enjoinded activity (i.e. the owners' lock-out of the players), will the owners or players suffer irreparable economic harm?

Since the owners aren't paying the players anything right now, it's difficult to argue the owners will suffer any economic harm in the meantime, much less the kind of catastrophic "loss [that] threatens the very existence of the [NFL’s] business" that the law requires be compared to the harm to be suffered by the players over the same time period. In the absence of of any such harm, in comparison with the losses to be suffered by the players over the same time due to their being locked out of the facilities they need access to in order to maintain their skills, Judge Bye obviously found the owners' argument lacking and rendered his dissent accordingly, albeit to no avail in light of the intransigence born of the obtuseness and pro-ownership bias obvious in his colleagues.

As for your second quote of Judge Bye, the only negotiating that's going on now is that forced by District Court Judge Nelson to continue despite the fact that the players' side in those negotiations is being conducted by a party the players have certified no longer represents it. Furthermore these negotiations would not be occurring if Judge Bye's two other colleagues were capable of following the logic of his dissent i.e. if they concurred with him in making "permanent"  Judge Nelson's injunction.

The disturbing part about Appeals Court Judges Colloton and Benton's majority opinion is that, while there's a legitiame issue as to whether either side's losses in the meantime are "irreparable", they seem to be basing their concurring decision largely on what they claim is the likelihood of the eventuality of the owners' ultimately prevailing on the lockout issue, for that "logic" is counter to numerous published overviews this situation by respected legal authorities.

For logic and language as flawed and incoherent as yours, "Irregardless", I'd be real stingy (or, as your ilk likes to mischaracterize it, "conservative") in dragging up from the depths of your miasmic mind such words and phrases as "moron" and "creep[ing] out of the backwoods".




Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: May 18, 2011 2:55 pm
 

The issue of irreparable harm in court ruling

You played way too much football.



Since: May 16, 2011
Posted on: May 17, 2011 5:47 pm
 

The issue of irreparable harm in court ruling

How will this all play out?


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