Jon Gruden’s lawsuit against the NFL faced its first big procedural hurdle in court on Thursday, and in a victory for the former head coach, the case will proceed.
In a hearing in Clark County District Court Thursday, Judge Nancy Allf heard a pair of motions from the NFL’s attorneys. The first was a Motion to Compel the case into binding arbitration, which would remove it from the District Court. The second was a Motion to Dismiss from the NFL, arguing that the former coach failed to state a viable cause of action.
Judge Allf heard arguments from attorneys from both the league and Gruden on Wednesday, first on the Motion to Compel the case into binding arbitration. Attorneys for the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell argued first in their pleadings, and then during the argument that the terms of Gruden’s employment contract and the league’s Constitution and Bylaws are clear that arbitration is the proper forum for Gruden’s allegations. Gruden’s attorneys argued that because he reached a settlement agreement with the Las Vegas Raiders, Gruden was therefore not bound by the contract with the team, nor the NFL’s Constitution and Bylaws.
Judge Allf denied the motion, clearing the way for the case to proceed through litigation.
The court then heard the NFL’s second Motion, which sought to dismiss the case outright. The league and Commissioner Goodell, through counsel, argued that “the complaint – a baseless attempt by Jon Gruden to blame the NFL and its Commissioner for the fallout from the publication of racist, misogynistic and homophobic emails that Gruden wrote and broadly circulated – should be dismissed for failure to state a single viable cause of action. ”
This Motion was also denied by Judge Allf, and with both of these Motions being denied, Gruden’s case is clear to proceed through litigation. That opens the door for discovery, both written and deposition testimony, unless the case is resolved prior to the start of discovery.
After the hearing, during which the former head coach did not speak, Gruden offered a brief comment to reporters:
NEW: Jon Gruden to @FOS after he secured two major victories in court as the NFL’s motions to dismiss his lawsuit or move it to arbitration were denied:
“We are going to let the process take care of itself. Good luck to the Raiders. Go Raiders. ” pic.twitter.com/H4cmMZoar4
– AJ Perez (@byajperez) May 25, 2022
But with this matter now seemingly headed for discovery, will the league move towards a settlement to avoid the discovery process, or continue to fight Gruden’s claims in court?