The NFL is appealing a ruling by a Nevada district court judge that denied its request for arbitration in Jon Gruden’s lawsuit against the league.
Last Wednesday, Judge Nancy Allf blocked the league’s attempt to settle Gruden’s lawsuit out of court and avoid a messy public legal battle.
Gruden, the former Raiders coach, filed a lawsuit against the league and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in November, claiming that the league leaked derogatory emails he sent over the years in an attempt to ruin his career and reputation.
Gruden resigned as the Raiders coach shortly after The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times published the emails, which were racist, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ in nature.
Last May, Judge Allf denied the league’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit outright, which prompted the league and Goodell to submit a motion for the case to be arbitrated outside of court.
Allf denied that motion on Wednesday.
“In seeking to compel arbitration, the NFL Parties must show that a valid, written agreement to arbitrate exists and encompasses the dispute at issue,” the judge’s order wrote. “The Court finds that the NFL Parties have failed to meet their burden.”
Gruden, meanwhile, is determined to move forward with the lawsuit and appears intent on finding out who is responsible for private emails that he sent prior to accepting the Raiders getting into the hands of two publications and creating a public uproar that led to demands for his firing or resignation.
The NFL has disputed Gruden’s claim that the emails that led to his departure were all sent before he had signed an agreement with the Raiders.
“Gruden’s claim (and purported finding of fact) on the timing of his emails is, in reality, very much disputed by the NFL Parties and in fact false,” the league’s lawyers wrote in court documents filed Aug. 16. “Discovery — necessary to make any finding of fact on this issue — will show that Gruden continued to send the same kind of derogatory emails consistently following his start date with the Raiders.”