Patriots

Patriots

If you’re yearning to know what goes down during the conferences scheduled by Judge Richard Berman on August 12 and August 19, you might be in luck. We all might be.

I learned on Monday that proceedings in U.S. District Court’s Southern District are open to the public. They could be closed, I was told, but that hasn’t happened yet. It was pointed out that negotiations at the conference between Judge Berman and the two parties – which will likely include both Tom Brady and Roger Goodell – would probably take place behind closed doors. Still, Judge Berman seems to like to get his work done fast and in full view of the public.

Berman made clear in his response letter to the NFL and NFLPA that he’s well aware of the public interest in the case when he said he was disinclined to approve sealing any documents (“I always have considerable difficulty approving any sealed documents, given the keen public interest in these matters and the public’s right to know.”)

Further, Berman – in an interview last October with the New York Law Journal – expressed his philosophy on being as open as possible with his court proceedings. It was a great read earlier today with lots of interesting nuggets. But a whole bunch of people musta been googling Richard Berman and tripped an alarm at the New York Law Journal because when I went back to it later in the day it was behind a lexis/nexis paywall and I don’t have one of those accounts. For those that do, have at it. And lemme see it.

 

Meanwhile, a legal expert who has distinguished herself with an ability to smartly break down and simply explain the moving parts has been Stephanie Stradley.
And she posted on Monday a FAQ, if you will, focusing on how forcefully Judge Berman is encouraging a settlement.

A portion of her plain-spoken analysis: “(T)his case is a particularly good candidate for settlement because it is dumb. If you don’t think this is dumb, try explaining it to someone who knows nothing about football. The legal issues are interesting, but the underlying dispute is profoundly stupid and avoidable. Generally speaking, judges don’t like dumb controversies that the parties would be better off settling themselves. And this case the judge wants out of his court, given how much he is emphasizing settlement and a quick resolution.”

As Stradley pointed out to me on Monday, Berman has included a number of pressure points for both sides. One of those is the request that the principals show their faces in Federal Court, an exercise which will help the reality of the seriousness they are facing sinks in.

Summing it Berman’s position as she sees it, Stradley writes, “The short version? Hey, settlers, why don’t you settle down and settle this? Srsly. Settle this. Settlely yours, Judge Wanting You To Settle This."

We’ll see if the judge gets his way and gets this case out of his face post-haste.