Procedure For Josh Gordon To Secure TRO vs. NFL

Written by  Cedric Hopkins August 29, 2014
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With no known downside, I fully expect Josh Gordon to file a lawsuit against the NFL in the next few days. Pursuing his legal options, which Gordon’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Gordon would do to the fullest extent available to him, cannot result in any foreseeable harm to the Pro Bowl wide receiver.

The NFL already suspended Gordon for as long as they could: one calendar year. It’s not as though the league could suspend Gordon for an additional year, or any other period of time, because he files a lawsuit.

And if Dawg Pound Nation’s report is true—that the NFL made an offer to Gordon for a suspension of less than a full calendar year—then why wouldn’t Gordon take that offer if he’s just going to accept the full calendar year suspension without a fight. It simply doesn’t make sense.

So I expect the news to hit any hour now that Gordon has filed suit in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

And I’m not the only one.

I called the clerk of the court in Cuyahoga County and spoke with a window file clerk. She informed me that their office is on alert in anticipation of Gordon’s lawsuit. The reason she gave me for being on alert: “Because he said he would sue. We’re ready for it.”

Procedure When/If Gordon Files

The first news you’re likely to hear is that Gordon filed a lawsuit in state court. State court gives Gordon the best grounds for relief for contractual claims and claims attacking the drug testing procedure and the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy.

Once Gordon’s lawyer hands the lawsuit to the filing clerk, the clerk files the complaint and stamps it with a case number. At the same time as filing the complaint, Gordon will also file for a temporary restraining order (TRO).

I’ve explained what the TRO is here, but essentially, the TRO is a court order that suspends Gordon’s suspension. In other words, Gordon would no longer be suspended and could play the NFL...not Canada.

Once the complaint and request for TRO is filed, the clerk will assign the case to a judge. Gordon’s lawyer will immediately take the request for a TRO to the judge’s chambers and give the documents to the judge so that they can be ruled on. The NFL will not be a party to this part of the lawsuit—it’s what is called ex parte (one party).

The judge can decide to grant or deny the request for a temporary restraining order immediately, which, considering the significant injury (Gordon not being able to play this season) outweighing all other factors, should be granted.

If so, the judge would return the TRO to Gordon’s lawyer who will then take the documents back to the clerk’s office. The clerk will then “journalize” the documents, or make them official within the court system. The restraining order would take effect at this point.

The clerk would then serve the NFL (and all other named defendants) via FedEx. The NFL would have 28 days to respond to the lawsuit by filing an answer admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint.

In the meantime, you’ll be picking him back up off the waiver wire and plugging him into your lineup. Or if you drafted him, you can just sit back with a sh*t-eating grin and let out a quiet condensing laugh around your league mates. 

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins Bio

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).

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