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LAS VEGAS – A Nevada judge has ruled in favor of former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden in two motions on Wednesday, opening up the possibility of a jury trial over his “tortious interference” allegation that NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell selectively leaked Gruden’s emails to force his removal on Oct. 11.
Referee Nancy L. Allf dismissed the NFL’s claim to force arbitration as well as the league’s claim to dismiss the case. The case will now go to court unless a settlement is reached. However, Allf provided no timeline for the next procedure.
The NFL said in a statement given to several media outlets that it would appeal.
“We believe that Coach Gruden’s claim should have been forced to arbitration and we will appeal the Court’s decision. The Court’s rejection of our motion for dismissal is not a substantive assessment of Coach Gruden’s action facts and is based on a false premise – neither the NFL nor the commissioner leaked coach Gruden’s offensive emails. “
Gruden was present when his lawyer, Adam Hosmer-Henner of McDonald Carano, gave the oral arguments, while outside attorney Kannon Shanmugam argued on behalf of the NFL.
“I just want to let the process take care of itself,” Gruden said as he left the courtroom. “It’s good to be back in Vegas. I need to see some friends tonight.
Gruden was asked if he was looking forward to the discovery process that could lead to the release of league-wide incriminating emails found in the on-the-job investigation by the Washington NFL franchise now called Commanders.
“The process will all take care of itself,” Gruden said.
While the NFL argued that arbitration was necessary because of his contract with the Raiders, Gruden’s legal team opposed that after retiring as coach and taking a settlement from the Raiders, he was no longer a league employee and therefore no longer bound to arbitration.
Judge Allf agreed, saying she was “concerned” that Goodell had sole power as a potential arbitrator.
Gruden originally filed a lawsuit on Nov. 12 at the Eighth Court in Clark County, Nevada. He had resigned as coach on October 11 after leaking emails containing racist, anti-gay and misogynistic language that “was not suitable to be repeated in a public courtroom,” Shanmugam said.
Gruden’s case claims that the NFL leaked his emails, which had been in the league’s possession since June 2021, to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times in October in an attempt to “damage Gruden’s reputation and force him out of his job,” Hosmer said Henner in a November statement.
“There is no explanation or justification as to why Gruden’s e-mails were the only ones published out of the 650,000 e-mails collected … or why e-mails were kept for several months before they were released. in the middle of the Raiders season, “the statement said.
Hosmer-Henner hinted Wednesday that Goodell kept emails and called the Raiders, threatening to release more if the team did not fire Gruden.
“Ask the NFL,” Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN at the time. “They have all the answers.”
Gruden was the Raiders’ coach from 1998 to 2001, before coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002 to ’08 and beating the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. Since then, I have worked as an analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football from 2009 to ’17.
Davis hired Gruden to return as coach of the Raiders in January 2018 with a 10-year, $ 100 million contract.