Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Judge Nelson: “The lockout is enjoined.”

Clay Redden

The gavel stands ready as Alabama House Public Information Officer Clay Redden, rear, makes preparations House chamber in Montgomery, Ala., on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010 a for the special session on ethics legislation called by Gov. Bob Riley. The lawmakers come into session next Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Dave Martin

We’ve obtained the 89-page ruling from Judge Nelson lifting the NFL’s lockout of the players following decertification of the union.

The decision ends with a simple yet powerful four-word sentence: “The lockout is enjoined.”

Here’s the full text of the final portion of the written decision, under the heading “order.”

“The nation’s labor laws have always applied only where an action involves or grows out of a labor dispute. Such a labor relationship exists only where a union exists to bargain on behalf of its members. Where those employees effectively renounce the union as their collective bargaining agent -- and accept the consequences of doing so -- and elect to proceed in negotiating contracts individually, any disputes between the employees and their employers are no longer governed by federal labor law. Likewise, the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which applies only to preclude some injunctions in the context of ‘labor disputes,’ also no longer applies here to preclude injunctive relief. The NFL urges this Court to expand the law beyond these traditional dictates and argues that the protections of labor law should apply for some indefinite period beyond the collapse and termination of the collective bargaining relationship. In the absence of either persuasive policy or authority, this Court takes a more conservative approach, and declines to do so.

“This Court, having found that the Union’s unequivocal disclaimer is valid and effective, concludes there is no need to defer any issue to the NLRB. Because that disclaimer is valid and effective, the Norris-LaGuardia Act’s prohibition against injunctive relief does not preclude granting the Player’s motion for a preliminary
injunction against what the League characterizes as a ‘lockout.’

“Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records and proceedings herein, IT IS

“1. The Brady Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction [Doc. No. 2] is

“2. The Eller Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction [Doc. No. 58] is
MOOT; and

“3. The ‘lockout’ is enjoined.”

The ruling says nothing about a stay of the ruling. Presumably, it applies immediately -- unless the NFL can get Judge Nelson to modify the ruling, or unless the league can get the U.S. Court of Appeals to issue a stay pending the inevitable appeal.