Build a Mediation Room – And They Will Come.

At a hearing on April 6, 2011, regarding the former NFL Players’ injunction request, U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson urged both sides to get “back to the table” and said negotiations should take place at “not the players’ table, not the league’s table, but a neutral table.”

And so they shall.

Attorneys for the former NFL Players’ Association will meet with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan today, while the NFL’s attorneys are to meet with Boylan tomorrow before the sides begin mediation as ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson.  Additionally, Judge Nelson ordered both sides to keep the mediation confidential and that participation in the mediation “and any communications conveyed between the parties in this process, shall not be admitted or used against any party in any other proceeding or forum, for any purpose.”

Judge Nelson’s ruling addresses the players’ concern that talks held after the dissolution of the union could be construed as collective bargaining and therefore enhance the NFL’s claim that the decertification was a “sham”.

Judge Nelson also combined the lawsuits involving current and former players since neither side objected to combining the cases.

The court ordered mediation will not have the effect of a stay on this litigation, since Judge Nelson previously stated that she would rule “in due course.”

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