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Judge does not foresee bounty settlement

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By PFW staff

U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan does not see a settlement coming in the bounty case, writing that the failure of the settlement talks was “extremely disappointing."

Berrigan issued an order on Wednesday asking for more filings pertaining to the players’ request for a temporary restraining order to allow them to return to work with their teams as their case against the NFL continues.

In her order, Berrigan wrote the interests of Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita and Jonathan Vilma have been undermined by, “longstanding acrimony among all of the attorneys representing all of the parties that predates these disputes.”

She also referred to a potential conflict of interest since Smith, Fujita and Hargrove are represented by the same lawyers representing the NFLPA.

Berrigan asked the league to file its response to the NFLPA’s request for a temporary restraining order by Thursday. Smith is facing a four-game suspension, Fujita, who is now with the Browns, is suspended for three games and Hargrove, who is a free agent, faces an eight-game suspension. Vilma was suspended for the entire season.

Vilma has his own attorney and asked for a temporary restraining order in July. The NFL maintains that the Saints ran a pay-to-injure program from 2009-11 and denied the players’ request for appeals.

There was a report earlier this month that a settlement between the league and Vilma, who reportedly was offered a reduction of his suspension to eight games, was being discussed, but the league denied the report.

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