Legal Teams for the NBA and the Players Filed Updates in Court

by November 17, 2011

The ugly legal battle between players and the NBA is well underway, as lawyers from both sides filed updates with the courts. From the NY Times: “Lawyers for both sides filed updates this week on an N.B.A. lawsuit against the players, which accused them of plotting to disband their union as a negotiating ploy. The players made that move on Monday after labor talks collapsed. In a letter filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the N.B.A. lawyer Jeffrey Mishkin seized on the union’s dissolution as proof of the league’s claims. Jeffrey Kessler, who represents the players, responded in a letter Tuesday. The N.B.A.’s lawsuit, filed Aug. 1, sought a declaratory judgment that its lockout of the players is legal and not subject to antitrust statutes. The lawsuit was a pre-emptive strike that anticipated the players disbanding their union and filing an antitrust suit, which they did Tuesday night. Those cases — along with a separate lawsuit filed by another set of players against the league — will eventually have to be merged. No hearing date has been set for the players’ primary lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The case was initially assigned to a magistrate judge, with a case management conference scheduled for Feb. 29. However, at the players’ request, the case is being reassigned to a district judge, with a hearing date to be determined. David Boies, the lead lawyer for the players, is hoping that a hearing can be scheduled much sooner, in time to save the season. In his letter to Judge Paul G. Gardephe, who is presiding in the N.B.A.’s lawsuit, Mishkin reiterates the league’s accusation — that “on more than two dozen occasions,’ the union ‘has threatened to abandon collective bargaining and commence antitrust litigation to challenge the lockout.’ These threats, Mishkin writes, ‘are having a direct, immediate and harmful effect” on efforts to reach a new labor deal. In his response, Kessler writes that until Monday, the union ‘had not yet decided whether’ to disband and did not know whether ‘they ever would do so.'”