NFL Sacked Again in American Needle Case – May Head to Trial in Antitrust Dispute

In 2010, the Supreme Court declared that the National Football League’s practice of league-wide licensing deals was not immune from antitrust scrutiny under Section One of the Sherman Act.  On remand, a recent order by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied the NFL’s motion to dismiss the case and set the stage for a trial. The American Needle company, an entity that had acted as a vendor for the NFL for 20 years, initially sued the league, 30 of its…
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Collegiate Athletes Bring in a Ringer for New Action Against NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) is currently defending student amateurism on several fronts across the country in legal battles with big potential monetary implications.  In one ongoing lawsuit, former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon leads a class action on behalf of former and current NCAA players, alleging that the organization’s practice of licensing and profiting from student images and likenesses without their consent violates federal antitrust laws.  Elsewhere, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter organized a union movement at the school and requested that the National…
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City of San Jose resumes its fight against MLB’s Antitrust Exemption

Last fall U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte dismissed a lawsuit filed by the city of San Jose against Major League Baseball (MLB) in which the city claimed that MLB had wrongfully prevented San Jose from enticing the Oakland A’s to relocate to Silicon Valley. Judge Whyte had reasoned that MLB’s antitrust exemption – a status bestowed on the league in a 1922 Supreme Court decision – barred the suit and required that the action be dismissed. On March 5, city attorneys filed a brief…
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Supreme Court Denies NCAA’s Petition to Get “In The Game”

On January 13, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the NCAA’s request to intervene as a party in Keller v. Electronic Arts Inc.  The Keller case stems from 2009 and involves “rights of publicity” and antitrust claims. Former college football players alleged that the EA violated their right of publicity and conspired with the NCAA by using their image and likeness in its videogames.  In EA’s appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the NCAA was not immune to the players’ claims because the depictions in…
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The Anti-Trust Suit Isn’t Over Yet for the NCAA

U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken moved the Ed O’Bannon anti-trust lawsuit forward against the NCAA. On November 8, 2013, Judge Wilken certified a class of former and current college athletes suing the NCAA. The suit began in 2009, when former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA for wrongfully profiting off the names and likeness of former student athletes in EA Sports video games. The judge ruled that players can seek a verdict forcing the NCAA and its member-schools to end restrictions on…
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San Jose Looking to Play Ball with MLB in Federal Court

On Tuesday, June 18, 2013, the City of San Jose filed an antitrust suit against Major League Baseball (MLB) and its commissioner Bud Selig in federal court.  The dispute revolves around the Oakland Athletics (A’s) hopes to relocate.  Although the A’s have considered a move for a while, the league must approve one first. The A’s stadium is the fourth oldest in the league, and it shows.  A sewage leak on Sunday June, 16 created problems in the clubhouse forcing the A’s to share a…
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Settlement Allows PeopleBrowsr to Continue Drinking From Twitter’s Firehose Through End of 2013

On April 25, 2013, Twitter Inc. and PeopleBrowsr Inc. (a social media data analytics company) settled a lawsuit in California federal court over alleged violations of various anti-competition statutes.  PeopleBroswr filed suit against Twitter last November after Twitter threatened to cut off the company’s access to the “Firehose” data feed. Currently, PeopleBroswr purchases social media data from Twitter through the company’s “Firehose” feed, a constantly flowing source of information generated by all of the ‘tweets’ that flows through Twitter on a second-by-second basis.  In order…
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O’Bannon Lawsuit Could Change the Face of NCAA Athletics

Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon began his antitrust legal dispute against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) back in 2009, when he sued the NCAA for wrongfully profiting off the likenesses of former student athletes in EA Sports video games.  The suit accuses the NCAA of forcing students to waive the right to make money off of their likenesses, a behavior which amounts to an illegal restraint of trade. In a new twist, in her January ruling, federal Judge Claudia Wilken permitted O’Bannon to…
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On March 27, 2013, in a narrow 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded a Third Circuit decision upholding the class-action certification in a lawsuit accusing Comcast Corp. of unlawfully monopolizing the Philadelphia cable market. The Court’s decision to reverse the appellate court ruling hinged on the methodology the Third Circuit used in calculating damages – namely, that the decision to certify the class had impermissibly ignored expert testimony and wrongfully added damage amounts related to claims that had been dismissed.  Justice Scalia…
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As Clock Ticks Down, a Closer Look at the NHLPA’s Threat to Decertify

The National Hockey League Players Association is considering the aggressive move of disclaiming interest in representing National Hockey League Players in collective bargaining negotiations with the league. That move would technically end negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement and open the avenue of anti-trust litigation for the players. Essentially, the NHLPA would be turning over representation of the players to the agents and the attorneys and risk desertion by groups of players that may be adversely affected by anti-trust litigation. The act of decertification…
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