Each arbitrator shall designate a minimum of twelve hearing dates per year, exclusive of the period July 1 through September 10, for use by the parties to this Agreement. Upon being appointed, each arbitrator will, after consultation with the Chairperson, provide to the NFLPA and the Management Council specified hearing dates for each of the ensuing six months, which process will be repeated on a semiannual basis thereafter. The parties will notify each arbitrator thirty (30) days in advance of which dates the following month are going to be used by the parties. The designated arbitrator will set the hearing on his or her next reserved date in the Club city, unless the parties agree otherwise. If a grievance is set for hearing and the hearing date is then postponed by a party within thirty (30) days of the hearing, the postponement fee of the arbitrator will be borne by the postponing party, unless the arbitrator determines that the postponement was for good cause. Should good cause be found, the parties will bear any postponement costs equally. If the arbitrator in question cannot reschedule the hearing within thirty (30) days of the postponed date, the case may be reassigned by the Chairperson to another panel member who has a hearing date available within the thirty (30) day period. At the hearing, the parties to the grievance and the NFLPA and Management Council will have the right to present, by testimony or otherwise, any evidence relevant to the grievance. The NFLPA and the Management Council have the right to attend all grievance hearings. All hearings shall be transcribed.
If a witness is unable to attend the hearing, the party offering the testimony shall inform the other party of the identity and unavailability of the witness to attend the hearing. At the hearing or within fourteen (14) days thereafter, the party offering the testimony of the unavailable witness must offer the other party two possible dates within the next forty-five (45) days to take the witness’ testimony. The other party shall have the opportunity to choose the date. The record should be closed sixty (60) days after the hearing date unless mutually extended notwithstanding any party’s failure to present posthearing testimony within the above-mentioned time period. If a witness is unavailable to come to the hearing, the witness’ testimony may be taken by telephone conference call if the parties agree. In cases where the amount claimed is less than $25,000, the parties may agree to hold the hearing by telephone conference call.
Any party may seek bifurcation of a grievance to assert a claim of untimeliness Bifurcation motions shall be presented in writing to the other party and the arbitrator in the moving party’s answer or at any time no later than seven (7) days prior to the scheduled hearing on the merits of the grievance. If an arbitrator has not yet been assigned to hear the grievance then the moving party shall file the motion with the Chairperson of the Arbitration panel, who will decide the motion or assign it to a member of the Injury Grievance Arbitration panel. A party’s decision to pursue a bifurcated hearing may not delay the processing of a hearing scheduled on the merits of the grievance. For any motions made at least thirty (30) days before a hearing on the merits of the grievance, the parties will use their best efforts to schedule the bifurcated hearing at least ten (10) days before the scheduled hearing on the merits of the grievance. In any case where a timely motion for bifurcation is made, but a bifurcated hearing is not held, the arbitrator shall decide the issue of timeliness during the hearing on the merits.
If a defense of untimeliness is not raised at least seven (7) days before the scheduled hearing on the merits of the grievance, the parties will be precluded from arguing that defense. However, where a party learns of facts supporting the defense less than seven days prior to the hearing, during the hearing, or in a post-hearing deposition, the party must present the defense to the opposing party and arbitrator within seven (7) days of when the facts supporting the defense became known or reasonably should have been known to the party.
If a grievance is ultimately dismissed based on a finding of untimeliness, the arbitrator shall issue a written decision limited to that issue, and such ruling shall be final and binding.
Post-hearing briefs must be submitted to the arbitrator no later than sixtyfive (65) days after receipt of the last transcript. The arbitrator will issue a written decision within thirty (30) days of the submission of briefs but shall not consider briefs filed by either party more than sixty-five (65) days after receipt of the last transcript, unless the parties agree otherwise. The arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding; provided, however, that no arbitrator will have the authority to add to, subtract from, or alter in any way any provision of this Agreement or any other applicable document. In the event the arbitrator finds liability on the part of the Club, he or she shall award Interest beginning one year from the date of the last regular season game of the season of injury.