A federal judge in Minneapolis excused himself Friday from being the arbiter in the latest NFL labor dispute, despite fulfilling the role for the past two decades.
U.S. District Judge David Doty was originally going to be hearing arguments on October 1 in a lawsuit brought forth by the NFL Players Association against the NFL owners for collusion. The lawsuit states that they enforced a secret $123 million salary cap per club in 2010 when there was no cap.
After Judge Doty recused himself from the case, it was reassigned to Chief Judge Michael Davis.
Judge Doty explained his reasoning for stepping away from the case in his order. There he stated that, “The parties deserve a new examination of the issues by a judge that has not already expressed an opinion as to the outcome of the dispute.”
Originally, Judge Doty rejected the union’s claim because the collective bargaining agreement had already expired, which meant the players had no standing to sue.
But the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Doty’s decision in June and ordered him to oversee a new hearing.
“It is a custom of some judges to recuse upon reversal by the appeals court,” Doty wrote in his order. “Even though that is not my custom, the court believes that this case calls for different treatment. Second, as the trial judge long associated with this case, and other related cases, I have enjoyed the outstanding advocacy by counsel for the parties, and I will miss that.”
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