Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Williamses File in Minnesota State Court, Get a TRO

According to ESPN the Williamses have filed their suit in Minnesota State Court. (Recall, yesterday, their attorney was threatening to file a federal suit.) In my opinion, this is a very savvy move.  And while I was writing this, the judge issued a TRO.

As I posted yesterday, under the federal standard, the Williamses appear unlikely to obtain a TRO or a preliminary injunction. Although most states enunciate a very similar standard to federal standard, state court judges have a reputation (fairly or unfairly) of being more willing to play fast and loose with the procedural rules and legal standards.

Moreover, Minnesota state court judges are elected officials rather than lifetime appointees (like federal judges). How would you like to be up for election as The-Judge-Who-Tanked-The-Vikings-Season? Although one would hope that this would not sway a judge from applying the law as it exists, how could that elephant in the room not play an influence?



  1. Sometimes a judge will look at a request for a TRO this way-is any potential harm caused by granting a TRO outweighed by the potential harm of not granting one? In this case, might the judge have simply decided that there was little harm in granting a TRO, at least as compared to the potential harm of not doing so?

    I don't know Minnesota law, but doesn't the judge need to schedule a hearing on a preliminary injunction pretty quickly? After all, a TRO is by it's very terms "temporary."

  2. Apparently, there is going to be a flurry of activity tomorrow including removing the state court case to federal court where it will be joined with a suit brought by the NFLPA.

    Under the federal rules a TRO expires after 10 days unless renewed. I've seen courts in other states set a hearing date almost 2 months out, leaving the TRO in place until the hearing. I'm not sure what Minnesota state law provides.