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NFL Clubs Lose Preemption Argument

2016 July 2

On July 1, 2016, Judge Alsup issued an Order in the NFL Drug Litigation DENYING the Clubs’ attempt to dismiss the case. Judge Alsup found that the CBAs do not immunize the Clubs from their allegedly illegal activity.

So too here. Plaintiffs allege that the clubs made intentional misrepresentations to plaintiffs regarding medications in violation of the Controlled Substances Act and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Because the CBAs could not have validly sanctioned the indiscriminate distribution of medications in violation of these statutes, the terms of the CBA need not be construed. The statutory prohibition against such conduct stood independently from any CBA. Galvez v. Kuhn, 933 F.2d 773, 777 (9th Cir. 1991). Moreover, Section 301 does not preempt claims to “vindicate nonnegotiable state law rights.” Cramer, 255 F.3d at 697. Therefore, plaintiffs’ claims are not preempted under Section 301. The motion to dismiss on the basis of preemption is therefore DENIED.

This is a significant victory for former players. It now opens the door to discovery and puts tremendous pressure on the NFL and Clubs.

The full Order can be found here.

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