Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eighth Circuit Releases Decision Relating To Michael Vick's Bonus

The Eighth Circuit released a decision today in Reggie White v. National Football League which is about Michael Vick's bonus payments.  The court's opinion can be found here, an Associated Press article can be found here,  and the clerk of court's summary of the decision is below:
District court did not abuse its discretion in denying the League's Rule 60(b) motion to amend the judgment in a case involving the question of whether bonus payments made to Michael Vick could be recovered following his conviction on federal dog fighting charges; the Supreme court's rationale in Brown v. Pro Football, Inc., 518 U.S. 231 (1996) does not apply to this case and the district court's oversight of the settlement agreement between the players and the league is permissible and is not an unlawful meddling in the collective bargaining agreement; developments since the settlement, including recertification of the players union, the resumption of collective bargaining and the diminishing number of original class members still in the game, did not warrant modification of the settlement agreement; while the district judge would have been well advised not to opine about his role in enforcing an ongoing consent decree, his public comments did not create a reasonable perception of bias, and he did not err in denying the League's motion to recuse himself; to the extent the League's motion to recuse the judge relied on certain ex parte meetings with counsel for the Player's Association, the motion was untimely; the district court properly rejected the League's argument that Michael Vick's roster bonuses were signing bonuses subject to the years-performed test, and the court did not err in concluding that bonuses were earned, and not subject to forfeiture, after Vick met the roster provisions in his contract.


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