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Quirks Of N.F.L.’s Case May Foil Anyone’s Guess

Publication Date: 
April 26, 2011
The New York Times
John Schwartz

Professor William B. Gould spoke with John Schwartz of The New York Times on the odds NFL owner's are facing in their appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

On Monday night, a federal judge in Minneapolis issued an injunction lifting the N.F.L. lockout. The league’s owners have asked the judge, Susan Richard Nelson, to issue a stay of the injunction, and she has given the players until Wednesday morning to respond.

Meanwhile, league owners have filed notice that they are appealing to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, where the litigation is inevitably bound.


The Eighth Circuit is widely viewed as one of the more conservative federal appellate courts, with a tendency to side with business on labor issues, said William B. Gould IV, a professor emeritus at Stanford University Law School and a former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board.

“This has been a very conservative court for a number of years,” he said, adding, “I would say it has shifted to the right more appreciably in the wake of some of President Bush’s appointments.”


A result, said Gould, who has written for decades on sports labor issues, is that “if the owners cannot win in this court, they cannot win anywhere.”