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New England Patriots Links 4/06/11 - NFL Lockout To Be Lifted? Court Hears Brady Case Today

Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Ten things to know about the Wednesday court hearing.

1. What’s it all about? The players, faced with the threat of a lockout, opted to shut down the union and sue the NFL for violation of the antitrust laws. The primary argument is that any effort by the league to behave collectively after the union disbanded violates the antitrust laws, because the league is made up of 32 separate businesses that can’t agree to act in concert.

The primary goal of the lawsuit is block the lockout. Toward that end, the players filed a motion for what the legal process calls a "preliminary injunction," a fairly common device that seeks a fairly extraordinary remedy. The players basically want to obtain now one of the things they would get if they win — an order preventing the league from preventing the players from working.

The arguments are simple. The players believe that the union properly shut down, requiring the 32 teams to deal with a non-union workforce, and subjecting the league to antitrust liability for collective actions or rules. The NFL believes that the union decertification was a sham aimed at acquiring leverage via the antitrust lawsuit and the attempt to end the lockout.

To get an injunction while the case continues, the players must persuade the court that they will suffer "irreparable harm" absent a lifting of the lockout. A legal term of art, "irreparable harm" refers to injuries that can’t be remedied by an award of money damages entered at the end of the case.

The league believes that, if the players win, they can be compensated financially for all lost wages and bonuses and other forms of compensation. The players believe that the disruption to already short NFL careers cannot be fixed with an award of cash later.