Clerk: No lockout ruling before Monday

Updated: May 6, 2011, 5:07 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals' 8th Circuit told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter he doesn't anticipate a ruling before Monday on whether the lockout will remain in place temporarily while a permanent ruling is decided.

The 8th Circuit in St. Louis will hear oral arguments June 3 on the NFL's request to put its labor lockout in place until a new deal is worked out.

But first, judges Duane Benton, Kermit Bye and Steven Colloton will rule on whether to maintain the temporary stay they issued last Friday, a decision the clerk, Michael Gans, said Friday is not imminent.

The lockout was put back in place last Friday by the owners a few hours later.

Court-ordered mediation between the two sides is set to resume before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan on May 16, after four days of talks last month and 16 days of federally mediated negotiations earlier this year. Little progress has been reported.

The old CBA expired on March 11, when the players broke up their union to file a federal antitrust lawsuit and the league enacted the lockout that lasted 45 days until a U.S. District Court ruled for the players to halt the lockout.

The lawsuit against the NFL is still pending before Judge Susan Richard Nelson, but the legality of the lockout has essentially become the fight for now, with both sides arguing over whether Nelson has jurisdiction in the case and over the notion of irreparable harm. That claim has been prominent in nearly every court filing of the last two bizarre, bitter months as the NFL has stumbled through its first work stoppage since the 1987 strike.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, during a call with Kansas City Chiefs fans on Thursday, reiterated the league's desire to resume negotiations with the players.

"Unfortunately, I don't think we're making much progress in negotiations because they really aren't happening," Goodell said on the call. "Right now, it's in a litigation phase and the union is pursuing that while we are defending that. Unfortunately, there are not enough negotiations, which ultimately it's going to have to come back to and is where this will get resolved and end in a new collective bargaining agreement."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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