Williamses’ cases sent to state court by judge

By Chip Scoggins
Updated: May 23, 2009

MINNESOTA — The legal case involving Vikings Pro Bowl defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams took another turn Friday when U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson dismissed a lawsuit brought by the NFL players union and sent two claims by the Williamses to state court.

The attorney for the Williamses, who are facing four-game suspensions after testing positive for a banned diuretic last season, said that his clients’ case is “still alive.”

“We’re back to where we started,” said their attorney, Peter Ginsberg. “We filed our original claims and injunction in state court and won there. The NFL decided it did not want to litigate in state court so we moved it to federal court. And now the judge put us back into state court.”

Ginsberg said he would try to get a trial date soon.

Magnuson dismissed all but two of the claims by the Williamses and threw out a lawsuit brought by the NFLPA on behalf of the Williamses and three New Orleans Saints players who also tested positive for bumetanide and face four-game suspensions, according to The Associated Press.

The judge sent back to state court the Williamses’ claims involving Minnesota laws on when and how employers can require their employees to submit to drug testing, and prohibiting a Minnesota employer from disciplining an employee for using a legal substance offsite during nonworking hours.

Bumetanide is contained in the supplement StarCaps and can be used as a masking agent for steroids. Bumetanide was not listed as an ingredient on the StarCaps label, and the players and union argued the NFL knew about its presence in StarCaps and did not properly inform players.

The Williamses admitted in court filings that they took the diuretic to help them make a prescribed weight.

Magnuson sided with the NFL’s argument that players are responsible for what they put in their bodies and that the league warned them about taking weight-loss supplements.

“We are pleased that after a careful review of the record the court has upheld the suspensions of the players in this case,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. “The decision strongly supports the NFL program on performance- enhancing substances that protects the health and safety of NFL players and the integrity of our game.”

NOTE: The Associated Press contributed to this report.