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News » StarCaps case back in court today

StarCaps case back in court today

StarCaps case back in court today
Saints players Charles Grant and Will Smith, former Saint Deuce McAllister and Minnesota Vikings players Pat Williams and Kevin Williams will resume their battle against the NFL in federal court today when pretrial motions are heard in St. Paul, Minn.

All five are seeking to overturn four-game suspensions from the NFL last year after the players tested positive for a banned diuretic, a violation of the league's substance abuse policy.

The trial is scheduled to begin June 15, but both sides will make motions for a summary judgment today, meaning Judge Paul Magnuson could rule on the case if he feels the trial is unnecessary.

That seems unlikely. But attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who is representing the players on behalf of the NFL Players Association, remains optimistic.

"We believe our motion for a summary judgment in favor of the NFLPA is quite strong," Kessler said.

The NFLPA filed a federal lawsuit against the NFL in December after the players' appeals were denied by the league, and Magnuson ordered the suspensions to be put on hold pending the outcome of the case.

All five tested positive for bumetanide, which they claim was an unlisted ingredient in an over-the-counter weight loss product called StarCaps. Further, they are arguing that the NFL knew StarCaps was a tainted product but failed to properly warn players, and that the league-appointed arbitrator who ruled on their suspensions, NFL attorney Jeffrey Pash, had a conflict of interest.

To help strengthen their argument, the Williams' attorney plans to subpoena members of the Buffalo Bills organization, according to a report last month in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Pat Williams played for the Bills from 1997 to 2003, and according to the report, attorney Peter Ginsberg said that StarCaps were "freely distributed" in the Bills' locker room.

The Bills denied the allegations through a statement.

Throughout the trial process, Magnuson also has ordered the two sides to attempt to work out a settlement. If no summary judgment is granted today, the sides are scheduled to meet before the magistrate June 2 to discuss the possibility of a settlement.

If the suspensions are ultimately upheld before the start of the NFL season, however, the players would be due to sit out the first four regular-season games.

ARNOUX HAS SURGERY: Rookie linebacker Stanley Arnoux had surgery Monday to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon. The surgery, which was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., was a success.

Recovery time varies, but it typically takes about nine months to fully recover from such injuries.

The Saints don't have to place Arnoux on any injured lists until after he signs his contract, because draft picks don't count against the 80-man roster until they are signed. In Arnoux's case, there will be no rush to sign a deal until late in the summer. But he still will receive a fair market contract as part of an injury protection agreement that unsigned rookies make with NFL teams before participating in offseason workouts.

Arnoux, a fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest, suffered the injury during his first practice on the first day of the Saints' rookie minicamp last weekend.

ROSTER MOVE: The Saints signed undrafted rookie offensive tackle Michael Brown on Wednesday. To make room, they waived undrafted rookie receiver Chris Vaughn.

Brown (6 feet 5, 300 pounds) was a starter at left tackle at Mississippi State in 2006 and 2007 after transferring from Florida. But he and a teammate were kicked off the team last year after being arrested for carrying firearms on campus.

Brown attempted to transfer to Alabama A&M, but he was unable to regain his eligibility, so he turned pro. The Saints will try him at right tackle.

. . . . . . .

Mike Triplett can be reached at mtriplett@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3405.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 14, 2009

Eric Winston Name: Eric Winston
Position: OT
Age: 24
Experience: 3 years
College: Miami (FL)
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