PGA Tour – Not Quite Out of the Rough Just Yet

On Friday, October 9, 2015, attorneys for a group of professional caddies filed a motion in opposition of dismissal against the PGA Tour, citing violations of antitrust law, the Sherman Act, and the Lanham Act. The class action lawsuit, originally filed in February, centers around the issues of forced advertisement without proper remuneration and unfair trade practices, as the caddies argue the Tour obligated the plaintiffs wear bibs adorned with corporate sponsors not chosen by them at televised tournaments. In opposition to the now second
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Supreme Court Again Refuses to Hear Case Involving Antitrust Exemption for MLB

The U. S. Supreme Court will not be hearing the latest in a long-line of antitrust suits filed against Major League Baseball, as it was determined Monday that the city of San Jose’s petition for certiorari was denied.  The city had filed the petition in response to a dismissal on appeal in the Ninth Circuit earlier in January of this year. The antitrust lawsuit came about in 2013 after San Jose had unsuccessfully attempted to relocate the Oakland Athletics an hour South along the Californian…
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NCAA Athlete Compensation: The Ninth Circuit Filed its Opinion on Appeal

On September 30, 2015, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals filed its opinion in the appeal of the O’Bannon v. NCAA antitrust lawsuit.  At the federal trial court level, District Court Judge Claudia Wilken held that the NCAA’s ban on compensating student athletes violates federal antitrust laws.  Judge Wilken concluded that “less restrictive” means were available to preserve student athletes’ amateur status, and therefore, she held that NCAA member universities were permitted to engage in the following acts: (1) universities may grant to student…
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MLB Continues Fight Against Fans in Antitrust Cable Lawsuit

In 2012, sports fans filed suit against the MLB, NHL, and the Yankees Sports & Entertainment Network (YES), among others, alleging that their TV “blackout” rules are illegal. Sports leagues’ TV blackout rules have long frustrated sports fans. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin provided an example of a typical situation for out-of-market sports fans in her 2015 opinion granting class action certification: A Yankees fan who lives in Iowa cannot purchase only the YES Network—as a fan living in New York can—he must…
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Minor Leaguers’ Antitrust Action Against MLB is Dismissed

On September 14, 2015, a federal judge in California granted Major League Baseball’s motion to dismiss the minor league players’ antitrust action. The class action claimed that the MLB violated federal antitrust law, alleging that the league suppressed the compensation of minor league players through its antitrust exemption. This historic exemption was established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1922. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr.’s decision dismissed the case pursuant to a January 2015 decision in which the 9th Circuit upheld the MLB’s antitrust…
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The NCAA Continues Opposition of Class Certification in Scholarship Antitrust Actions

On Tuesday September 8, 2015, the NCAA continued its opposition of class certification in a multidistrict antitrust litigation, which seeks to reduce NCAA restrictions on scholarship caps for Bowl Subdivision D-1 football players and for men’s and women’s basketball teams. The lawsuits, filed on behalf of past and current NCAA athletes, also aim to reduce restrictions on what schools can offer their players—like compensation, for example. The plaintiff’s initial filing seeking class certification came in April 2015. For the individual cases to be certified,…
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Another Plaintiff Joins the Trend: The NFL-DirecTV Antitrust Litigations

Over the course of Summer 2015, the NFL and DirecTV have been served with nine separate antitrust lawsuits, alleging that the defendants’ “NFL Sunday Ticket” agreement is in violation of the antitrust laws.  All complaints have been filed on behalf of commercial entities, such as bars and restaurants, and the most recent complaint, filed by Jammers, Inc., owner of a bar in Los Angeles, proposes a class action lawsuit against the defendants. While all major American professional sports leagues have out-of-market broadcasting agreements with…
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The NHL Broadcasting Antitrust Case: The Effect of the Settlement Agreement on Viewer Options

On Tuesday September 1, 2015 the NHL’s settlement agreement with the plaintiffs in the broadcast antitrust lawsuit was approved by the federal judge. The action was initially filed in 2012, and the settlement was presented to the judge for approval this past June. NHL games are broadcast both on television and over internet streaming. In recent years, fans choosing to watch games over television broadcasting have had two viewing options. Through the first option, viewers could watch their local market’s team through the local…
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Golden Boy Promotions v. Haymon: Who is the Real Double-Dipper?

This past May, boxing promotion company Golden Boy Promotions LLC filed an antitrust action against Alan Haymon, a manager for various boxers, including Floyd Mayweather.  The action claims that Haymon violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, and several state laws, alleging that the manager acted as both a manager of boxers and a boxing promoter to monopolize American boxing.  Laws such as the Ali Act are intended to separate boxing promotion from management so that fiduciary duties owed to…
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Amazon Investigated For E-Book Antitrust Violations

Oh how the tables have turned for retail giant Amazon.com.  Three years ago, Amazon pushed for an antitrust investigation of Apple for e-book price fixing.  Now, however, regulators in the European Union have opened an e-book anti-trust investigation into Amazon. On June 11, 2015 the European Commission announced that it was formally investigating Amazon’s business practices related to its e-book business.  Of particular focus are Amazon’s contracts with European publishers.  Under the terms of those agreements, publishers are required to inform Amazon if the publishers…
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