Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/17/12 at 09:54 PM ET
from Rob Becker, Sportsnet's legal analyst,
The NHL's decision to file a pre-emptive lawsuit against the NHL Players' Association appears to be based on a desire to show the union that its plan to file a "disclaimer of interest" in order to allow the players to file antitrust suits against the league will fail.
And I believe the union's plan will indeed fail because Judge Paul Engelmayer, the young but brilliant federal judge in New York City who has been assigned the case, will see right through the formality of the disclaimer of interest to the underlying substance of what it really is: just another negotiating tactic by a union whose death will have been greatly exaggerated.
And that will mean that the players' antitrust suits will continue to be barred, just as they have been while the union has been representing the players. It also means a settlement -- or at least a settlement that the union will be happy with -- is not just around the corner.
The governing law here lies on the borderline between U.S. labour and antitrust law. If the league and the union had not been negotiating with each other one-on-one over these past years -- if there had never been a union, or if it had been terminated some time ago -- then the players would be free to claim that the league's decision to lock them out was an illegal collusion of teams to avoid paying the players what they would get if there were free competition for their services.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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