Antitrust Battle Between MMA Fighters and UFC Continues

On April 10, Mixed Martial Arts (“MMA”) fighters Cung Le, Jon Fitch, and Nate Quarry filed their opposition to UFC’s motion to dismiss the putative class action and to transfer the venue. In the court documents, the fighters argued that UFC’s bid to transfer venue was improper because the suit is alleging antitrust violations, not breach of contract.  In response to the UFC’s argument that the plaintiffs did not specify “how the agreements unreasonably restrain competition,” the plaintiffs simply said, “The UFC is…
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StubHub Claims Warriors & Ticketmaster Conspired to Form a Monopoly

Over the weekend, online ticket resale marketer StubHub, filed an antitrust lawsuit in Federal Court against the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and Ticketmaster, alleging conspiracy to create a monopoly. The Golden State Warriors have been very successful on the court as of late.  This year, the team clinched a playoff spot for the third straight season and secured the first seed in the playoffs in the western conference.  The team has also sold out 118 straight home games in addition to maxing out its season…
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San Jose Takes MLB Antitrust Case to Supreme Court

As anticipated, the San Jose City Council unanimously voted to appeal the antitrust case challenging MLB’s antitrust exemption. The dispute arose when San Jose’s attempt to relocate the Oakland Athletics to the South Bay was halted by the MLB’s territorial restrictions.  In the lawsuit, the city argued that the territorial rule granting the San Francisco Giants club the right to block the A’s relocation as well as alleged stalling by an MLB relocation committee violated antitrust laws. After the district court dismissed the suit, the…
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District Judge Recuses Herself from NCAA Antitrust Lawsuit

On Thursday, January 29, a federal court judge for the Southern District of Indiana recused herself at the plaintiffs’ request from an NCAA antitrust case as she currently serves as a Butler University trustee. John Rock, a former Gardner-Webb football player who lost his scholarship, filed this lawsuit in 2012 attacking the NCAA’s scholarship cap and one-year scholarship policy.  Rock seeks damages and a ruling from the court that requires all Division 1 universities to offer multiyear scholarships to stop the NCAA from “artificially reducing”…
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9th Circuit Throws Out San Jose’s Antitrust Suit Against MLB

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that San Jose’s antitrust claims against MLB were barred by baseball’s antitrust exemption. After its antitrust suit against MLB in 2013 was dismissed by a trial court, San Jose had appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit early last year to continue its effort to move the Oakland A’s to Silicon Valley. San Jose challenged the 92-year old antitrust exemption of MLB to bring the Oakland Athletics to Silicon…
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Disney, Sony, DreamWorks Asked Court to Dismiss Anti-Poaching Lawsuit

Major animation studios filed a motion to dismiss an antitrust suit filed against them by their former employees.  The defendants Disney, Sony, DreamWorks, and Blue Sky argued in the filing that the plaintiff animators brought the suit five years after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2010 began scrutinizing arrangements to freeze wages and not poach employees in the industry.  Moreover, the defendants further claimed the allegations that the studios would collude to suppress wages was “implausible” when the DOJ’s probe began and after…
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Fighters Take on UFC in Antitrust Bout

On Wednesday, December 24, a third antitrust lawsuit was filed against the UFC by fighters claiming the organization is a monopoly and illegally restrains trade. The first two lawsuits, brought on December 16 and December 22, alleged that the UFC is engaging in illegal practices to eliminate competition from rival MMA promoters.  The activities include counterprogramming, demanding venues and sponsors to sign exclusivity agreements, and taking rights fighters’ likenesses.  This third claim alleges similar misconduct.  The UFC allegedly prevents other promoters’ access to resources that…
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Apple Wins $1 Billion iTunes Antitrust Case

After only three-hours, the jury in a 10 year old dispute reached a verdict favoring Apple.  The federal jury found that Apple’s iTunes 7.0 software was a technological improvement for iPods rather than an attempt to monopolize digital music. Along with improvements such as the addition of games and movies to iPods, iTunes 7.0 included FairPlay.  FairPlay was a digital rights protection system that only permitted songs purchased through iTunes or on CDs to play on iPods.  Songs purchased from competitors would not work. …
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David v. Goliath: Another Suit Brought Against MLB by Minor Leaguers

Four minor league players filed an antitrust lawsuit in San Francisco federal court against Major League Baseball (MLB), claiming that the league’s right of first refusal to resign the players impair their ability to negotiate when their contracts expire. Calling the league a cartel, the complaint said the players are “powerless to combat the collusive power of the MLB cartel.” It further claimed that “MLB continues to actively and openly collude on many aspects of minor leaguers’ working conditions,” including wages and contract terms. Especially,…
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NHL Says No Common Question, No Common Answer, No Class Certification

In a court document released last week, NHL, Comcast, and others urged that the court should not grant a class certification to a group of TV broadcasting service subscribers who brought an antitrust action.  The defendants including NHL, Comcast, MLB and others argued that since the plaintiffs had failed to show common impact with common evidence, granting a class certification was not proper. In 2012, the subscribers commenced the suit alleging that the restrictions imposed by the NHL and MLB on local TV broadcasters are…
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