By Michael Lewis
The North American Soccer League has asked an appellate court for a three-day extension on its reply to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s brief filing response due to the Thanksgiving holiday, but the federation isn’t buying it.
The latest legal tussle essentially is a sideshow in the bigger legal battle between the two sides. The NASL has appealed a preliminary injunction that rescinded the federation’s decision to revoke it Division Two status for 2018. It also has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the USSF.
In a motion filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York Tuesday, the USSF opposed the league’s extension request.
“Granting NASL more time to file its reply brief than USSF had to file its opening brief but not only would be highly unusual, but grossly unfair,” federation attorneys wrote. “NASL should not now be allowed to complain of the consequences of the expedition that was put in place — at its own request — weeks ago.”
The federation cited several reasons why the extension should not be granted.
“USSF would usually be sympathetic to an extension request to accommodate an intervening holiday,” the USSF attorneys wrote in their response. “NASL’s request here, however, is improper for several reasons. NASL itself championed the expedition from which it now seeks relief. It delayed its ‘Emergency’ motion until the same day USSF’s brief fell due, effectively denying USSF the opportunity to request a corresponding extension. Delaying the submission of its reply brief would likewise impair USSF’s — and the Court’s — ability to prepare for oral argument. And if the Court accedes to its request, NASL would have more time in preparing its reply than USSF had for its full merits brief.”
In their filing, the federation attorneys also noted that the NASL request an expedited briefing schedule Nov. 7.
“If offers no excuse for this delay or intervening extraordinary circumstance that prompted it to seek an extension, nor could it,” the filing stated. “The Thanksgiving Holiday is not a sudden, unexpected event that could not have been foreseen until today.”
Federation attorneys argued that allowing the league to delay the filing of its brief would shorten the time the court and the USSF would have to prepare for the “already highly expedited oral argument in this case.”
The USSF also said the NASL’s request for extension would give it nine days in which to file its reply, more time than the federation was given to prepare its response brief. That would be almost twice as among that the league had proposed in the first place.
The NASL has appealed a ruling by Judge Margo K. Brodie for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in which its quest for a preliminary injunction to change the USSF’s decision.
On Monday, Nov. 13 the league filed a 68-page brief that argued why the U.S. Court of Appeals should overturn the U.S. District Court’s ruling.
The USSF’s response was due Tuesday.
Oral arguments in the appeal is scheduled to be heard in court Dec. 15 at 10 a.m.