NCAA Conferences Deny Withholding Documents in Athletes Antitrust Lawsuit

Former student-athletes who filed antitrust claims against the NCAA for compensation beyond the costs of attending college have accused the NCAA conferences of unreasonably withholding documents during discovery. The lawsuit challenges bylaws that prevent universities from paying athletes beyond the costs of attending college. In 2014, a California federal judge refused to dismiss the suit; however, it ruled that this matter should be handled separately from the suit over the athletes’ likeness. On March 11, 2016, the athletes filed a motion for a discovery…
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Recent Antitrust Settlement a Win-Win for MLB and Sports Fans

Joseph Hanna, Chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Law Practice Group, weighed in on a recent settlement between Major League Baseball and sports fans over territorial blackouts and high prices for sports packages. The settlement came just moments before a trial was set to begin on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. As Joe concludes in the article for Law360, “They could have gone to trial, and who knows how it would have been decided. The opportunity to settle a case and have what…
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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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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…
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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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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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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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Bill Ending Antitrust Exemptions for Pro Sports Leagues Introduced

A bill to end the current permanent antitrust exemptions of the four major professional sports leagues was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. on December 2. Titled the Sustained Promotion of Responsibility in Team Sports Act (SPORTS), the bill would remove permanent antitrust exemptions for NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA one year from the bill’s enactment and replace it with a reauthorization process every five years.  According to the SPORTS Act, ninety-five days before ending the exemption, Congress would have an up-down vote on a…
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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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