Texas Basketball Referee Fights Back in Antitrust Suit
Charles Brasier, a former high school basketball official, is suing Wichita Falls Area Basketball Officials Association (WFABOA), alleging deprivation of property without due process and various antitrust violations including the Sherman Act, Clayton Act, and Texas antitrust law. In February, Brasier claimed to have been unlawfully stripped of his certification, preventing him from refereeing the 2015-16 high school boys and girls basketball season.
Brasier alleges that he attempted but failed to create a rival referee association within the University Interscholastic League (UIL). As a result, the WFABOA offered Brasier an opportunity to return to the association for a probationary period. Brasier presumes this probationary period to be a penalty considering his 28-year tenure and experience in refereeing. Brasier seeks an injunctive relief that would reinstate him to his previous position and award him lost revenue.
On May 20, 2016, the WFABOA, also part of the UIL, filed a motion to dismiss the claim, arguing that Brasier’s allegations lack specificity and merely recite legal conclusions. The association contends that the UIL has the power to deny accreditation to any new associations. Since the only dealing the WFABOA had with Brasier related to his status within the association, there is no conspiracy between the WFABOA and the UIL as required for a successful antitrust claim. The motion can be accessed here.
In response, Brasier now argues that the WFABOA admitted to several facts in its motion to dismiss. These are, Brasier argues, “deliberate steps taken by [d]efendant to prohibit [p]laintiff from practicing his profession and to restrict the expansion of competitive referees association.” Brasier references WFABOA mention of its suspension of Brasiers certification and WFABOA probationary membership if Brasier resigned from his rival association. Brasier argues that “[b]y admitting such facts, [d]efendant implicitly acknowledges that [p]laintiff has sufficiently stated a claim.” Brasier further argues that these deliberate steps can be considered an attempt to “eliminate[e] the competitor by unfair means” as applied by the Sherman Act.