MLB Asks Lawmakers to be Cautious in Recently Legalized Sports Betting World

On July 31, 2018, at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Bryan Seeley, a senior vice president with Major League Baseball, asked lawmakers to be cautious in the recently legalized sports betting world. As we have previously reported, in May 2018, the United States Supreme Court struck down a federal statute controlling the states’ ability to regulate sports gambling. In its majority opinion, the court voted to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). Although PAPSA did not…
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SCOTUS Declines Opportunity to Reconsider MLB Antitrust Exemption

Major League Baseball’s immunity from antitrust violations under the Sherman Act has been called an “anomaly.” It has also been consistently upheld by courts since 1922, when it was unanimously affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States. The exemption was codified by Congress in the Curt Flood Act of 1998, maintaining an exemption for MLB and its clubs when conducting the “business of baseball” and providing more freedom to players seeking free agency and salary arbitration. Despite striking out with lower courts, two…
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Nothing but Net: Lawsuit Seeks Safety Netting for MLB Ballparks

On Monday, July 13, Oakland Athletics season-ticket holder Gail Payne filed a federal lawsuit seeking to force Major League Baseball to extend the safety netting at each of the ballparks.  The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of all fans who purchase season tickets in currently unprotected areas of MLB ballparks.  It seeks no monetary compensation and instead insists that the league install safety netting from foul pole to foul pole. Among other arguments, the lawsuit provides examples of serious injuries that have occurred at…
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Ending in a Tie: MLB Advanced Media, Orostream Settle Patent Suit Over Mobile App

On Wednesday, June 3, U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap granted a stipulated dismissal of claims between plaintiff Orostream LLC and MLB Advanced Media.  Orostream filed suit in February in the Eastern District of Texas, alleging patent infringement in regards to the MLB.TV mobile app.  According to Orostream, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had issued it a patent in October 1998 titled “Computer Network System and Method for Efficient Information Transfer,” and MLB Advanced Media was repeatedly infringing upon it. In the complaint, Orostream alleged…
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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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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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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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Mitch Williams Sues MLB & Deadspin for Response to Little League Incident

On Wednesday, September 24, ex-MLB pitcher, “Wild Thing” Mitch Williams filed a lawsuit against the MLB network and news outlet, Deadspin. The suit Williams is bringing claims wrongful termination and defamation against the network, where he was an analyst since 2009 until his firing this year, and defamation against Deadspin.  The suit arises from alleged incident at his son’s little league baseball game in May this year.  Deadspin ran two articles on the story, reporting that Williams, a coach for his son’s team, argued with…
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