The judge in the Ezekiel Elliott case against the NFL might have some ties to NFL owners.
Pro Football Talk reports that the judge (Katherine Polk Failla) who reinstated the six game suspension for Ezekiel Elliott was married to a prominent lawyer, who was involved in crafting the current CBA deal for all 32 NFL owners:
“The judicial questionnaire signed by Judge Failla in June 2012 includes this statement and commitment: “My husband is a partner at the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP. I would recuse myself from any cases in which Proskauer Rose is a party or is representing a party.”
Proskauer Rose wasn’t representing the NFL in the Elliott case, but a prominent Proskauer Rose attorney was heavily involved in the negotiation of the labor deal that ultimately was at issue in Elliott’s case.
Bob Batterman, a/k/a “Lockout Bob” (pictured), became a key (and at times notorious) figure in the months and years leading up to the 2011 work stoppage that resulted in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. He presumably continues to consult with the league, as evidenced by his presence at the 2016 NFL annual meeting.”
As potential conflicts of interest go, Judge Failla’s seems much more significant. With a small army of federal judges assigned to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, why not avoid any potential appearance of impropriety and ensure that the case wouldn’t be resolved by the spouse of a lawyer who works for the firm that wrote the CBA?
The issue of a potential conflict of interest will arise as this Ezekiel Elliott case continues forward.