Jon Gruden and his legal team secured the first two victories off the field, as a judge ruled that the trial would both would not be dismissed and that it would remain public. Meaning that the motion to dismiss and the motion to private arbitration were both denied.
Now, thanks to Judge Alff’s ruling, his lawsuit against the NFL will continue in a public forum. The NFL had sought to keep it behind closed doors in arbitration.
In October, Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden stepped down from the job just hours after the New York Times detailed emails in which Gruden had previously made homophobic and misogynistic remarks.
The story followed an earlier report of racist statements by Gruden about NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.
Gruden filed suit against the league in November, alleging that the NFL deliberately leaked his emails to the news media in an attempt to damage his reputation and force him out of his job as the Raiders’ coach.
In court filings, Gruden’s attorneys described the NFL’s tactics as “a Soviet-style character assassination.”
The last thing the NFL wants is an ugly, public legal fight. And in an effort to prevent exactly that, the NFL filed two separate motions in a Nevada court to either force Gruden’s lawsuit into private arbitration or dismiss it altogether.
Clark County District Court judge Nancy Allf denied both requests on Wednesday.
“It’s just such a high bar in Nevada, to dismiss from the beginning,” Allf said in denying the NFL’s motion to dismiss.
“We believe Coach Gruden’s claims should have been compelled to arbitration, and we will file an appeal of the Court’s determination,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy wrote in an email. “The Court’s denial of our motion to dismiss is not a determination on the merits of Coach Gruden’s lawsuit, which, as we have said from the outset, lacks a basis in law and fact and proceeds from a false premise – neither the NFL nor the Commissioner leaked Coach Gruden’s offensive emails.”
This means the discovery stage could be next, when both sides will be required to file all documents and evidence pertinent to the case.
Keeping the trial public would potentially put some of the NFL’s confidential materials into public view, something the league can not be happy about.