Judge rejects most of Williamses' claims

Updated: May 23, 2009, 12:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MINNEAPOLIS -- A federal judge has dismissed most of the claims by two Minnesota Vikings stars facing suspension over their positive tests for a banned diuretic.

U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson on Friday remanded two of the claims by Vikings defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams to state court.

But Magnuson threw out most of the Williamses' claims and dismissed a lawsuit brought by the NFL players union on behalf of the Williamses and three New Orleans Saints players also facing suspension.

Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, who are not related, and the three Saints players -- Charles Grant, Will Smith, and Deuce McAllister, tested positive for the diuretic bumetanide last year and were each given four-game suspensions for violating the NFL's anti-doping policy.

Bumetanide has been found in the supplement StarCaps, though it is not on the label. It is banned because it can be used as a masking agent for steroids. The Williamses had no trace of steroids in their systems, according to court documents.

"We're back to where we started," the Williamses' attorney, Peter Ginsberg, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "We filed our original claims and injunction in state court and won there. The NFL decided it did not want to litigate in state court so we moved it to federal court. And now the judge put us back into state court."

Attorneys for the union and the Williamses argued that league officials knew StarCaps contained the banned diuretic back in 2006 and did not specifically notify players.

But the judge agreed with the NFL that players are responsible for what is in their bodies.

"The decision strongly supports the NFL program on performance-enhancing substances that protects the health and safety of NFL players and the integrity of our game," the league said in a statement.

The judge sent back to state court the Williamses' claims involving Minnesota laws on when and how employers can require their employees to submit to drug testing, and prohibiting a Minnesota employer from disciplining an employee for using a legal substance offsite during nonworking hours.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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