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Well, that was a bit less than I was hoping for.
Judge Brown has issued his first Order since the case returned to him from appeal. And well, I’d be lying if I said this was a huge blockbuster, along the lines of the May 8th order which gave rise to the appeal. The best way to think of this order is like a kid who gets clothes as a Christmas present: useful, but ultimately unsatisfying (yes, Judge Brown is Santa in this metaphor).
But let’s go through this and try to figure out where things stand.
Back to May 8th:
That was the day Judge Brown issued his original order, which addressed the tolling of the 180 notice period, discovery and the timing for the motion to dismiss, among other things. The appeal effectively delayed implementation of that order (though PSV/MLS never formally requested a stay), and when the appeal was rejected, we still had to deal with the timelines set in that order. This new ruling from Judge Brown tries to get the clock moving again, so to speak. For those of you just getting up to speed (or needing a refresher), here were the original/rulings deadlines from the May 8th Order:
- Six month notice period tolled for 90 days.
- Full discovery stayed during 90 day toll.
- PSV/MLS must turn over financial information related to valuation of the Crew.
- Parties have 14 days to determine what information should be turned over.
- If parties cannot agree, court will decide.
- Parties have 7 days to agree on a non-disclosure agreement
- If parties cannot agree, each side will submit proposed NDAs, and the Court will decide 7 days from then.
- Decision on State’s Motion to Compel Discovery is stayed until further order of the court.
- PSV/MLS Motion to Dismiss is stayed until after expiration of the 90 day toll.
- PSV/MLS reply brief is due July 17.
- Within 21 days of the May 8th order, Court will conduct separate meetings with Plaintiffs and Defendants to explore chances for settlement.
- Court will discuss with the parties during meetings what “Bona Fide Purchaser” is, and what preconditions (if any) should be imposed.
- Any potential purchasers should let themselves be known by contacting the Court.
- Offers to purchase the team should be submitted to the court under seal.
- Settlement negotiations during 90 day toll/stay of discovery will continue, and court may cut short, extend or modify tolling/stay period as it sees fit.
So that covers the May 8th order. All caught up? Let’s move to the July 11th ruling.
July 11th Order:
This is NOT the non-disclosure agreement. This has to do with certain documents that will be filed with the court as we move along. The NDA issue will (I assume) be determined at a later date. You can get a look at the plaintiffs’ proposed stipulated protective order here.
Beyond that, we did not get a lot more. The only other portion of the order basically says that the Court will sit down with the parties to determine the next steps.
All of the bullet points listed above from the May 8th Order are still in full effect. Obviously, the deadlines have long since passed, which is why the Court will set out new deadlines after meeting with the parties. One unanswered question is how the Court will deal with the delay in the context of the tolling issue. We are 65 days into the 90-day toll, 44 of which were blown during the appeals process (give or take a few days).
So, will the Court restore those 44 days? I’d think so, but I’m hearing that PSV/MLS are arguing that since they’ve been “complying” with the Modell law, those days shouldn’t be tacked on. I don’t know the extent to which they’ve been “complying,” but we know that Alex Fisher from the Columbus Business Partnership is operating under an NDA and is talking with MLS. And as I reported on Tuesday, MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott was in town for the hearing this week. Still, hard to believe that PSV/MLS would get away with blowing 44 days on a fruitless (frivolous?) appeal.
Now, we’ll wait to see how those meetings go, and probably won’t get much additional information until then. Which is probably unsatisfying for all involved.