In what could change the entire face of the NFLPA's antitrust suit against the NFL, the case has been handed to federal judge Susan Nelson - not David Doty, as most originally assumed would happen.
Nelson has scheduled the first hearing on the lockout injunction for April 6. This is actually fairly rapid, in terms of the usual judicial pace.
Nelson is a district judge for the District of Minnesota and was appointed a federal district judge last December, having served as a magistrate (the next level down) since 2000. She was nominated for the district seat by President Barack Obama.
Details of her legal history are hard to find (which may be a good thing), but she apparently litigated against big tobacco in a major case between the industry and the state of Minnesota. She's been known to make political contributions to members of the Democratic party.
The website for a Democratic senator who helped recommend Nelson says Nelson has "a reputation for being thorough, prepared and possesses a unique ability to bring parties together to resolve legal disputes."
Nelson's experience with the NFL includes the case "Dryer vs. NFL", involving the rights of former players to be represented in the league's video footage. She was still presiding when she was promoted to the District level and removed from the case.
This has the potential to re-shape the suit, as Doty was considered by some to be a shill for the NFLPA whom the league owners were desperate to edge out of the case. Doty will continue to hear the television revenue case until its resolution, as well as any damages claims proceeding from it.
Possibly unconnected is an Adam Schefter report that the NFLPA is now telling its players to boycott the draft. This would be very counterproductive. For further details involving the players' stance on Nelson and the negotiations in general, you might want to follow Doug Farrar's Twitter stream - he's getting some strong info from their conference call today, though very possibly with bias - expect a lot of he-said she-said this spring.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there's actually a site called "Judgepedia".