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Introducing Paul A. Engelmayer, the judge handling NHL’s lawsuit

Dec 16, 2012, 9:40 PM EDT

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The NHL’s class action complaint has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, whom the Associated Press profiled on Sunday.

The “relatively new” federal judge assumed his role in July 2011 after spending time as a Supreme Court clerk and becoming the chief of the major crimes unit in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan. He’s also a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Oh, but the AP points out something of way more importance: he’s a fan of the New York Yankees.

Engelmayer spent much of his time with the major crimes unit sniffing out fraud cases, while he’s already made a controversial decision as a federal judge:

In his most notable decision thus far, Engelmayer ruled a provocative ad that equates Muslim radicals with savages is protected speech under the First Amendment. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority initially refused to run the ad, saying it was “demeaning.”

(The New York Times has more on that decision.)

Sources such as the Los Angeles Times describe the U.S. District Court in New York as “often-friendly to sports leagues” and “pro-employer,” but much might come down to Engelmayer’s own assessment of the situation.

If you want to peek at his basic resume, the Federal Judicial Center has a bio of Engelmayer here.

  1. hockeyfan28 - Dec 16, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Being that this guy was appointed by the prez who is a big pro labor guy this would seem to bode well for the players

    • stakex - Dec 16, 2012 at 11:04 PM

      Ask the unions in Wisconsin just how pro-labor Obama is. Not saying hes anti-labor, because hes not, but he didn’t once say a word about the big labor battle in that state last year. Not the moves of a “big pro labor guy”.

      • hockeyfan28 - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:55 AM

        You obviously don’t remember the Wisconsin recall while he himself did not make a big labor speech Bill Clinton and several of his surrogates where up there campaigning like crazy for the Milwaukee mayor but sticking to hockey his judicial appointments have been decidedly pro labor check the backgrounds of his two Supreme Court appointees

      • stakex - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:41 AM

        Believe me, I follow politics very close and know very well what happened in Wisconsin. The fact that Obama did no inject himself into that mess, is part of the reason Scott Walker is still in office (and the fact that the people of Wisconsin didn’t want to kick a guy out of office for not doing anything legally wrong). If he was truely a die hard “big labor guy” he would have been up there to give a speah… like he did in Michigan last week.

        Again I’m not saying hes anti-labor or anything. Hes obviously pro-labor, but hes not some pro-labor die hard. Its typical assuming that Obama is far more liberal then he actually is… which comes from a false Republican narrative.

        Also of note is that his judicial appointments have all been at the very least liberal leaning… and liberals are pro-labor. That does not mean he appointed them because of that pro-labor stance.

      • hockeyfan28 - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:33 AM

        Even if Obama would have gotten involved it wouldn’t have mattered heck msnbc was living in Wisconsin and Ed Schultz was even taking kickbacks from labor for speeches I believe 200k was the amount he got see a large portion of Obamas base is college kids and the recall was held in June when kids where on summer hiatus and not easy to gather up for the recall besides that Walker actually did his job and turned the economy in the state around there was no reason for him to inject himself in a election the dems where going to lose anyway but aside from that most if not all his judges are very sympathetic to labor more so then management based on the way the NHL and the owners have run this lockout the players have a pretty good chance of winning their antitrust a lawsuit.

  2. joeyashwi - Dec 16, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    The fact that this is now in the courts is not a win for either side. Bettman and Fehr failed. Fire them both regardless of what happens.

    • kitshky - Dec 16, 2012 at 11:34 PM

      Considering that Fehr’s already said he’s retiring after this negotiation … I can not agree with you more.

      • blomfeld - Dec 16, 2012 at 11:57 PM

        or in other words …

        as the “payed” patsy which he likely is, could this be Fehr’s chance to now go out with a serious “financial” bang ?

  3. blomfeld - Dec 16, 2012 at 10:47 PM


  4. stakex - Dec 16, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    I don’t think its really possible to tell which way this judge might lean, but I will say a rock solid case by the league and a union leaning judge would be the best possible situation. That way, neither side wants to risk a court battle.

  5. manchestermiracle - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Since when is defending free speech in this country a “controversial decision?”

  6. dinklespiel - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Since the current administration got elected to office!

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