Players Merge Lawsuits Against NBA; League Criticizes Move

by November 22, 2011

The NBA for all intents and purposes, is now in the hands of lawyers. And even those guys have their own brand of trash talk. From the NY Times: “Two antitrust lawsuits filed by players against the N.B.A. were merged on Monday in the hope of bringing a swifter judgment against the league, and a swifter end to the lockout. The decision was announced by David Boies and Jonathan Schiller, whose law firm was hired last week by the National Basketball Players Association. Boies and Schiller will remain the lead lawyers in the case. Locked-out players filed two lawsuits in federal court last week, in separate jurisdictions, by independent legal teams. The courts would have eventually combined the complaints, because they were similar and sought the same remedy. Merging them now removes one obstacle. ‘If we had not done this, at some point the courts would have done this,’ Boies said in a news conference at his Manhattan office. He added: ‘If we’d waited, it would have taken 6, 8, 12 weeks. This solves that issue now and allows us to move forward.’ … Without a settlement in the next week, the N.B.A. would be forced to cancel its signature Christmas Day games. Boies was still speaking with reporters when the N.B.A. released a statement criticizing the move to merge the lawsuits and transfer the case from California to Minnesota. ‘This is consistent with Mr. Boies’s inappropriate shopping for a forum that he can only hope will be friendlier to his baseless legal claims,’ Rick Buchanan, the league’s general counsel, said in the statement. Buchanan suggested that Boies was unhappy with the case’s being moved from Oakland to San Francisco, with a case management conference set for March. Boies laughed, called the statement ‘ridiculous’ and said that he would have been fine trying the case in San Francisco.”