Lane Johnson Fights to Keep Lawsuit Alive

On November 19, 2018, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle, Lane Johnson, wrote two letters to Judge Sullivan regarding his lawsuit against the NFL and the NFL Players Association (“NFLPA”). As we have previously reported, in 2016, Johnson was hit with a 10-game drug suspension for his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. In response, Johnson filed a lawsuit against the NFLPA, arguing that the NFLPA’s inactions caused his suspension. Specifically, Johnson sued the NFL and the NFLPA for allegedly failing to follow the collective bargaining agreement and the collectively bargained NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances in punishing him with a 10-game suspension.

In his letters, Johnson claimed that even though the NFLPA supplied a copy of the collective bargaining agreement in question, their motion for summary judgment glossed over the fact that many of Johnson’s claims under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (“LMRDA,”) also allege that the NFLPA retaliated against him for speaking out against it. Further, Johnson also mentioned that the court had continued to deny him access to discovery requests underlying his claims. According to his letters, Johnson sought discovery regarding his LMRDA claims,” including documents, depositions and subpoenas. Absent an opportunity for discovery of information strictly within the NFLPA’s knowledge and potentially favorable to Johnson, summary judgment is inappropriate.”

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