We knew Lane Johnson’s lawsuit against the NFL and NFLPA was coming. The official complaint opens like this:
Plaintiff/Movant David Lane Johnson (“Johnson”) hereby petitions this Court, pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185 and Section 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 10, to vacate the October 11, 2016 arbitration award (“Award”) issued by James Carter. This Court should set aside the Award due to substantive and procedural defects that were manifest throughout the arbitral process and the additional reasons below.
In the absence of a substantively and procedurally appropriate arbitration process, the National Football League and the National Football League Management Council (collectively the “NFLMC”) breached their obligations under a collectively bargained agreement. The National Football League Players Association (“NFLPA”) also violated its Duty of Fair Representation under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 151 et seq., violated the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, and deprived Johnson of the lawful exercise of rights accruing to him under a collectively bargained agreement and under federal labor law. Finally, Johnson is entitled to equitable and monetary relief and a declaratory judgment, under 28 U.S.C. § 2201, regarding Defendants’ multiple breaches and violations.
Basically Johnson’s lawsuit asks that he be awarded any monies he lost and his prior suspension be rescinded. He claims later in the suit that his rights to have an independent observer watch the “B” sample testing were not properly respected, and that the arbitration process when he appealed was completely shady. Johnson said he asked for and received none of the “information about arbitrator selection, the Notice Arbitrator, the Collection Procedures, the Section 16 Procedures, the dates and numbers of his reasonable cause tests, the date he was placed in the reasonable cause testing program, and the identity of the CFT.” He also claims that the arbitrator “refused to provide Johnson with basic information necessary to assert his defense.”
Under the header “The NFLPA Misled Johnson as to its Dealings with the NFLMC, Failed to Assist Johnson, and Actively Obstructed Johnson’s Efforts to Obtain Information for his Appeal,” Johnson claims he should have been out of what’s called “Reasonable Cause testing” – and says that the NFLPA agreed with him – so his positive test wouldn’t even matter because he should not have been tested in the first place. He claims his suspension came about due to “corruption, fraud, and undue means.” The complaint says “collusion” a lot. It’s a lot of that going on here.
At the end, Johnson asks for a few things:
- Removal of Johnson from the National Football League Policy on
Performance-Enhancing Substances’ reasonable cause testing program;
- Return of Johnson to the discipline step or position he was in under the National Football League Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances prior to Birch’s September 6, 2016 discipline letter;
- Compensation for the damages Johnson has suffered or will suffer as a result of Defendants’ actions as described herein and the Award, which exceeds $75,000.00;
- Reversal of any damages caused by the improper Award, including, but not limited to, reinstatement of Johnson’s contractual guarantees set forth in his NFL Player Contract;
- Punitive damages;
- A judgment requiring Defendants to pay Johnson’s costs and attorneys’ fees associated with the underlying appeal of Johnson’s discipline;
- A judgment requiring Defendants to pay Johnson’s costs and attorneys’ fees associated with this litigation;
- Any other legal or equitable relief, which this Honorable Court deems just, equitable, and proper.
You can check out the whole complaint here.