Earlier Saturday, we tweeted that Judge Richard H. Kyle, the originally assigned judge to the Brady v. NFL case, was no longer assigned to the case, and that Judge Patrick J. Schlitz had been assigned to oversee the players' antitrust action against the NFL.
As it turns out, Kyle recused himself from the case because of a personal conflict with one of the firms involved. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Kyle cited 28 U.S.C. § 455 as the reason for leaving the case, which would involve him having some sort of conflict with the matter. The logical conclusion here is that Kyle practiced with the firm of Briggs & Morgan, who are representing the players in Brady v. NFL.
The case has, per legal documents, been reassigned to Schlitz. But the question everyone wants to know is, where's Judge David Doty? (If you missed it, he's the judge who ruled in favor of the NFLPA in the TV contract case.)
We inquired into that very subject earlier and were told that it's possible Doty could be given the case based on his prior NFL case work, but that it wasn't necessarily guaranteed.
"Often times, though, if a new case is related to an older case, the judge from the initial case will be assigned to the current case too," Jeanne F. Cooney of the US Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota, told CBSSports.com. "However, Judge Doty is now on senior status and doesn’t get many cases. Moreover, even if he got those types of cases in the past, the court wouldn't necessarily assign them to him now because it does not assign cases based on subject matter."
The logical move is that Doty will be given the case, regardless of his senior status -- his extensive work with the NFL prior makes him a natural fit to take over the newest NFL-related litigation.
One point worth noting as well, too, is that Schlitz was appointed by George W. Bush. Presumably, that makes him a preferred judge for the league (as Florio noted when pointing this out, "he's likely not a liberal"). However, Doty himself is a Ronald Reagan appointee from 1987 -- he was nominated by a Republican senator. As Matt Jones and I previously discussed, his reputation as a "liberal" stems more from his rulings for the players than his political affiliation.
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