Judge denies NFL motion to dismiss Jon Gruden lawsuit
LAS VEGAS — The NFL lost a bid on Wednesday to defeat a lawsuit filed by former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden accusing the league of a “malicious and orchestrated campaign” to force him to quit last October, including leaking offensive emails he wrote.
A Nevada judge has ruled against the league on two key issues in a legal battle pitting the coach, who left the Raiders with more than six seasons remaining on his club-record 10-year, $100 million contract, against the commissioner of NFL Roger Goodell.
Lawyers for both sides declined to comment after a 90-minute hearing, although Gruden walked out of the courtroom saying “Go Raiders.” He told reporters as he headed for an elevator that he hoped his case against the league and Goodell would play out.
Clark County District Court Judge Nancy Allf denied requests by league attorney Kannon Shanmugam to dismiss Gruden’s claim outright or let the league move the dispute to arbitration.
The league has a responsibility to act, argued the league’s attorney, in cases involving “conduct detrimental to the best interests of the league or professional football”.
Gruden accuses the NFL and Goodell of destroying his career and scuttling endorsement deals by posting emails that no one disputes that Gruden sent – and which Shanmugam told the judge contained “racist, misogynist and homophobic” unfit for rehearsal in a public courtroom.
The emails came from some 650,000 email messages obtained by the league nearly a year ago during a survey of the workplace culture of the Washington NFL franchise, now called the Commanders.