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2011 NFL Lockout: 8th Circuit Grants Owners Request for Stay

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In a major victory for NFL owners in the ongoing legal battles between them and the players, the owners scored a major victory today as the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the owners a stay on the injunction. On April 25, Judge Susan Nelson had ruled in favor of the players to block the lockout, with the simple statement "the 'lockout' is enjoined". The owners had asked for a stay on that injunction pending an appeal to the 8th circuit, which she denied. The owners then appealed the ruling of the stay to the 8th circuit. The 8th circuit granted the request of the owners for a temporary stay on April 29, that was to last until they could rule on a permanent stay.

Just a few minutes ago ESPN reported that the 8th circuit returned with it's ruling, granting a permanent stay on the injunction to the NFL. This ruling comes as the two sides re-entered mediation today under the auspices of Judge Boylan (who had been assigned by Judge Nelson).

What does this mean for the long term status of a new labor deal? Not much really. The appeal is scheduled for June 3rd, and the 8th circuit could uphold Judge Nelson's findings, or they could reverse them. If they decide with the NFL, then all the leverage is back on the side of the owners in this battle. Based on their past reputation as being "big-business friendly" and the previous rulings on this case there are many who think that they will rule in favor of the NFL.

Regardless of the outcome, this gets us one step closer to a resolution.

Edited to include some more info:

Link to the ruling.

Applicable quotes from twitter:

Adam Schefter

Money phrase: On page 11 of today's ruling, judges wrote, "Our present view is that Judge Nelson's interpretation is unlikely to prevail."

Gabe Feldman:

8th Cir. in granting stay: "We have serious doubts that the district court had jurisdiction to enjoin the League's lockout..."
8th Cir: "this is case in which one party or other likely will suffer some degree of irreparable harm no matter how this ct resolves motion"
8th Cir: Harm to players will be limited by expedited appeal sked, which will allow case to be resolved "well before beginning of season"

Matt Barrows

Top criterion for issuing stay: "applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits." Bad news for players case