A federal judge in Baltimore ordered the National Football League and its 28 clubs to produce more than $22.5 million, which it had refused to contribute to the players’ pension fund.
U.S. District Judge Herbert Murray issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday, instructing the league to deposit the money--earmarked for retirement benefits for NFL players--with the court to be held in escrow to protect beneficiaries of the NFL retirement plan.
The ruling stems from an NFL Players Assn. suit claiming that the league unlawfully withheld about $17.8 million from the pension fund under the terms of a 5-year collective bargaining agreement signed in 1982. The judge ordered the NFL to add double interest and attorney fees, raising the total to $22.5 million.
League officials, who also sued the union in the matter, claimed they were not required to produce the money because of the legal language of the collective bargaining agreement.
The judge has not issued a final ruling in the suit.