Thursday, July 5, 2012
Roger Goodell files motion to dismiss
NEW ORLEANS -- Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has amended his lawsuit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league, asking a federal judge in New Orleans to overturn his suspension and issue a preliminary injunction that would allow Vilma to work while the case is pending.
Vilma's latest legal maneuver Thursday came shortly after Goodell filed a motion to dismiss Vilma's defamation claims in connection with the league's bounty investigation.
Vilma has said his suspension is without merit and Goodell has made false public comments that have damaged the player's reputation and hurt his ability to make a living.
Goodell's motion says Vilma's claims are barred by dispute resolution procedures outlined by the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.
But Vilma's attorney, Peter Ginsburg, said the defamation claims focus "exclusively on statements Mr. Goodell has made publicly and outside the confines of the CBA."
"Mr. Goodell cannot escape responsibility for those public statements based on an argument that statements in a different forum and in a different context might have avoided judicial scrutiny," Ginsberg said in an email. "Having the title of 'Commissioner' does not provide Mr. Goodell with a license to make the accusations and allegations he has made against Jonathan in public forums without facing the same scrutiny as other citizens."
Vilma wants an immediate injunction so he can continue rehabilitating a knee injury at Saints headquarters.