NFL Sunday Ticket Litigation: Fans Want the Suit Back in State Court

On Friday, January 29, 2016, plaintiffs involved in a suit over Direct TV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package urged a California federal court to remand the case, which alleges violations of California law, back to state court.

The putative class action was initially filed by Robert Gary Lippincott Jr. in Sonoma County Superior Court back in October. Lippincott’s complaint alleged that contracts for Direct TV’s Sunday Ticket Package are void under California law as illegal contracts including “unconscionable provisions.” Specifically, Lippincott brought claims for unconscionability in violation of the California Legal Remedies Act, unfair pricing in violation of the California Unfair Competition Law, and unjust enrichment under California common law.

In November, the suit was removed from state court to federal court and consolidated into a multi-district antitrust litigation, centralizing more than 20 lawsuits challenging the anti-competitive effects of the exclusive Direct TV Sunday Ticket Package deal under Section 2 of the Sherman Act.

On Friday, Lippincott argued that although his suit shares similarities with those consolidated  and centralized in California federal court, his claims are based entirely on California law and therefore state court is a proper venue for his action.

Lippincott contended, “[t]he federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction of all cases arising under Section 2 of the Sherman Act, but not of all questions in which monopolistic conduct may be the subject-matter of the controversy. Defendants have attempted to deprive plaintiff of his rights as the master of his complaint. Where the same conduct is prohibited by both federal and state law, plaintiff has every right to choose to enforce state law claims instead of federal law claims.”

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