Flag on the Play: NFL, AP Urge Court to Close Book on Photographers’ Antitrust Suit

On Friday, May 29, the National Football League and the Associated Press told a New York federal court that the seven photographers bringing a copyright and antitrust suit had lost their right to file a revised complaint.  In March, U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet dismissed the photographers’ claims, but gave them twenty days to file a new complaint.  The parties then agreed to a three-week extension for the amended pleadings to be filed, but the photographers failed to meet the May 11 deadline.

Rather than a new complaint, the photographers instead filed a motion requesting dismissal of their copyright claims as a final judgment, which would then allow them to pursue an immediate appeal of that ruling before the Second Circuit.  They further argued that, with respect to their other claims, the court identified pleading defects that, upon correction, would allow those claims to proceed.

In their opposition brief, the NFL, AP, and Replay Photo insisted that the court enter final judgment with respect to all of the photographers’ claims.  The brief stated that the motion for partial final judgment would effectively grant the plaintiffs yet another extension of time and that the photographers had “lost any right to file a third complaint.”  Additionally, even if the court were to excuse the photographers’ noncompliance with the deadline, the defendants argued that entering the requested partial final judgment would still be improper because the requirements allowing for an immediate appeal are not met and it would be a waste of more judicial and party resources.

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