A court overturned a decision to dismiss the NFLPA's lawsuit against the NFL for collusion stemming from salary cap penalties toward the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins in 2012.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on Wednesday reportedly overturned a decision by Judge David Doty to dismiss the suit. The case is expected to proceed, forcing the league to disclose information about how teams were told to treat the uncapped year of 2010.
"Our union will always pursue and protect the rights of its players," the NFLPA said in a statement Friday. "We are pleased that the Eighth Circuit ruled that players have the opportunity to proceed with their claims. Through discovery and a hearing, we can understand how collusion took place. We have notified the NFL of its obligations to preserve all relevant documents and communications."
The NFLPA lawsuit, which was filed May 23, claims that the NFL imposed a secret salary cap of $123 million in 2010, despite the league agreeing to have no cap that season because of the lockout.
The NFL penalized the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints for violating the cap. The league subtracted $35 million in cap space from the Redskins and $10 million from the Cowboys, and redistributed the money among 28 other clubs. The Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints were exempted from receiving their share of the money because of their own cap violations.
The players union claims that league calculations demonstrated that the Redskins were $102,833,047 over the secret cap, the Cowboys were $52,938,774 over, the Raiders were $41,914,060 over and the Saints were $36,329,770 over.
The NFL referenced an Aug. 4, 2011 stipulation of dismissal resulting from a 1993 lawsuit: White v. the NFL. In that settlement, which was signed by NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, the "parties stipulate to the dismissal with prejudice of all claims, known and unknown, whether pending or not" including "asserted collusion with respect to the 2010 league year."
Kessler said in May that a Minnesota court rejected the stipulation.
Doty, on Aug. 11, 2011 "ordered that all claims pending regarding the stipulation and settlement agreement are dismissed. All other outstanding motions are dismissed."
Kessler said that the judge's specification of pending cases left the door open for cases that were not pending, including the current collusion case.