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NBA Players Minnesota Lawsuit

NBA Players Minnesota Lawsuit

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Published by Brian Cuban
NBA Players Antitrust Suit Filed In Minnesota
NBA Players Antitrust Suit Filed In Minnesota

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Published by: Brian Cuban on Nov 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/30/2013

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ll
Dr..
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Itql-ll*tt-,
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JJLA,
IN
THE
LTNITEDSTATES
DISTRICT
COURT
FOR
THE
DISTRICT
OF
MINNESOTA
James
Caron
Butler,
Ben Gordon,
Anthony
Tolliver,
and
Derrick
Williams,individually,
andon
behalf
of
all
others
similarly
situated,
Plaintiffs,
ll
'j
i57
V.
National
BasketballAssociation,
Atlanta
Hawks,LP,
B
anner
S
eventeen
LLC,
B
obcats
B
asketball,
LLC,
ChicagoProfessional
Sports
Limited
Partnership,
CavaliersOperating Company,
LLC,
DallasBasketball
Limited,
The
Denver Nuggets
Limited
Partnership,
Detroit
Pistons
Basketball Company,Golden
State
Warriors,
LLC,
Rocket
Ball,Ltd.,
Pacers
Basketball,
LLC,LAC
BasketballClub, Inc.,The LosAngelesLakers,Inc., Hoops,L.P.,
Miami
Heat
Limited
Partnership,
Milwaukee
Bucks,Inc.,MinnesotaTimberwolvesBasketball
Limited
Partnership,
New
Jersey
Basketball,LLC,New
Orleans
Hornets
NBA
Limited
Partnership,
Madison
Square
Garden,
L.P.,ProfessionalBasketball Club,
LLC,
Orlando
Magic,Ltd.,
Philadelphia
76ers,
L.P.,
Suns
Legacy
Partners,
L.L.C.,
Trail
Blazers,
Inc.,
Sacramento
Kings
Limited
Partnership,
San
Antonio
Spurs,
L.L.C.,
Maple
Leaf
Sports
&
Entertainment
Ltd.,
Jazz
BasketballInvestors,Inc.,
and
Washington
Bullets,
L.P.,
C-}.'a;-*r
Civil
ActionNo|l
;r::
ri-.',
-,'
V\\l<tr,1-
--
,\-l'\i
'
';:"
'rt
1
CLASS
ACTION'
-r,,
COMPLAINT--,
1
;-T
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,:,.
ruRY
TRIAL
4
.:I
REQUESTEDDefendants.
Plaintiffs,
by
their
undersigned
attorneys,
for their
Complaintherein
allege
as
follows:
ril',j
i
-r
?illl
CASE 0:11-cv-03352-PJS-SER Document 1 Filed 11/15/11 Page 1 of 27
 
INTRODUCTION
1.
Plaintiffs
are
filing
this
class
actionto
redress
violationsby
each
defendant
of the federalantitrustlaws
and
applicable
state
contract
and
tort
laws.
Plaintiffs
are
fourprofessionalbasketballplayers,
and
similarly
situated
players
who
haveentered
into,
and/or
who
seek
to
enter
into,player
contracts
withNational
BasketballAssociation
(.'NBA")
teams.
2.
Defendants,the
NBA
and
its
separately-owned
and
independently-
operated member teams,
have
jointly
agreed and conspired
to
deny
Plaintiffs
the
ability
toprovide
and/or
market
their
services
in
the
major
league
market forprofessional
basketball
playersthrough
an
unlawful
groupboycott
and
price-fixing
arrangement.
3.
The
NBA
Defendants' anticompetitive
agreements
include
a
boycott
that
has
eliminatedcompetition
in
the free
agent
marketplace
for
playersno longer undercontract,
as
well
as a
boycott
of rookieplayers
seeking
an
NBA
contract
for
the
first
time.
The
NBA
Defendantshave also conspired
to
refuse
to
deal
with
orto honor the
contracts
ofplayerswho
have
NBA
contracts.
The anticompetitive
purpose
of
this
group
boycott
is
to
coerce
Plaintiffs
and
the
other
players
to
succumb
to
a
new anticompetitive
system
ofplayer
restraints
which
will,
amongother
things, drastically
reduce
player
compensation
levels below
those that
would
exist
in
a
competitivemarket.
4.
Thegroupboycott,
concerted
refusal
to
deal
and
price-fixing
which
Defendants
are
carrying
out
arepc1
se
illegal
acts
under Section
1
ofthe
Sherman
Act,
15
U.S.C.
$
l.
Should these
anticompetitive
agreementsbe
alternatively
evaluated underthe
"quicklook"
or
even
a
full
blown
rule
of
reason test,
they
would
still
be
illegal.
As
a
CASE 0:11-cv-03352-PJS-SER Document 1 Filed 11/15/11 Page 2 of 27
 
result
of
Defendants'anticompetitive
agreements,
Plaintiffs
and
other
similarly
situated
current
and
futureprofessionalbasketballplayers
who
are
employed
by
or
seeking
employment
with
an
NBA
club
will
be
prevented
fromoffering
or
providingtheir
services
in
a
competitive market
and
from
receiving
a
competitive
marketvalue
fortheir
services,
and
will
be denied
the freedom
of
movementavailable
to
employees
in
virtually
everyother
industryin
the
United
States.
5.
The
NBA
Defendantscannot defend
their
violationsof
the federalantitrust
laws
by
hiding
behindthe
non-statutorylabor exemptionto theantitrust
laws.
Under
Supreme
Court
precedentand settled
law
in
this Circuit,
that exemption
only
conceivably
applies
as
long
as
a
collective
bargainingrelationship
existsbetween the
NBA
Defendants
and
the
players.
Here,
however,the
collective
bargaining
processand
relationship
have
completelybrokendown,
and
the
NBA
players
have exercised
their
labor law
right
notto
be
in
a
union.
Specifically,
after
more
than
two
years
of
futile
bargaining,
and
the refusal
of
the
NBA
to
negotiateany further,
the
NBA
players
ended
the
role
of
the
National
Basketball
Players
Association
('NBPA")
as
theircollective
bargaining
representative
and
no longer
have
a
collective
bargainingrelationship
with
the
NBA
Defendants.
The
consequenceis
that
any
laborexemption tothe antitrustlaws
no
longer
applies.
6.
Independent
of
their
federalantitrust
violations,
the
NBA
Defendants'boycott
alsogivesrise
to
state
law
contractual
and
tort
claims
on
behalf
of
Plaintiffs
andclass
members. There
is
no
"laborexemption"
or
any
other
legal
justification
for
the
NBA
Defendantsagreeing
not
to
adhere
to
the
terms
of
operativeplayer
contracts
and
to
CASE 0:11-cv-03352-PJS-SER Document 1 Filed 11/15/11 Page 3 of 27

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