Elliott’s Attorneys Trying To Put Hold On 6-Game Suspension

NEW YORK (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Attorneys for Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott are set for an emergency hearing in federal court in New York, as they try to once again stop the running back’s six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said on Monday night.

Elliott’s legal team filed a request for a temporary restraining order Monday and will get a hearing Tuesday in the Southern District of New York, the person said on the condition of anonymity, because the filing hadn’t been made public.

Last year’s NFL rushing leader is suspended for Sunday’s game at the San Francisco 49ers after a federal appeals court overturned an injunction that had allowed him to play this season.

The case is shifting to New York because the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ordered the dismissal of Elliott’s lawsuit in Texas. Elliott’s attorneys have indicated that they are still pursuing the case with the New Orleans court.

The person said that U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty would hear arguments Tuesday in New York because the presiding judge, Katherine Polk Fialla, is out of town.

Elliott’s attorneys hope to have his current six-game suspension put on hold by 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, which would allow him to be back on the field for Sunday’s game. That is the time when rosters are set. As of now, Elliott cannot even take the practice field.

Elliott was suspended in August by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after the league concluded, following a yearlong investigation, that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time.

Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence.

NFL Players Association attorneys, working on Elliott’s behalf, indicated in an earlier filing Monday that they intended to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction through the New York court.

A three-judge panel on the appeals court ruled by a 2-1 vote last week that Elliott’s attorneys filed the Texas lawsuit prematurely because an arbitrator had yet to decide on the running back’s appeal through the NFL. Because the lawsuit was premature, the court vacated the injunction and tossed the lawsuit.

Elliott’s attorneys have argued in subsequent filings that the dissenting judge in New Orleans agreed with the Texas judge’s findings that the NFL appeal was unfair to Elliott.

NFLPA lawyers contended that league investigators withheld key evidence from Goodell, and said that the hearing was unfair because arbitrator Harold Henderson refused to call Goodell and Thompson as witnesses. According to court documents that were obtained by CBS Sports legal analyst Amy Dash, “In addition to the restraining order to stop the suspension, the NFLPA is also asking the New York court to vacate the decision by NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson, which would do away with the suspension altogether.”

In successfully arguing the case in Texas, Elliott’s attorneys contended that he would suffer irreparable harm, one of the requirements for an injunction, because the suspension couldn’t be undone even if he only served one game without a proper hearing of the entire case in federal court.

NFL attorneys countered that they followed the rules of the labor agreement in suspending Elliott, and that labor laws backed Goodell’s power to suspend him. After Henderson rejected Elliott’s appeal, the league filed a lawsuit with the Southern District of New York, asking it to confirm Henderson’s ruling.

The Southern District was the venue for the ‘Deflategate’ case that ended with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady serving a four-game suspension at the start of last season, more than a year after it was imposed. Brady won a preliminary ruling from a federal judge, just as Elliott did, before losing on appeal.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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