SBD/19/Leagues Governing Bodies

NFL GETS BIG LEGAL WIN OVER PATS FORMER OWNER

     The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the $51M
antitrust judgment won by former Patriots owner William Sullivan
against the NFL in '91 and ordered a new trial.  The decision,
written by Chief Justice Juan Torruella, found that U.S. District
Court Judge Edward Harrington "erred by not instructing the jury
to consider several key aspects of the case."  Sullivan, on
having to go back to trial: "I can't wait to get back into the
arena again.  Of course I'll do it.  I've been in this thing for
30 years and I've had my block knocked off by people of little
consequence."  Sullivan had brought suit against 21 of the NFL's
27 teams for its policy prohibiting public ownership.  Sullivan
said the policy had stopped him in '87 from selling 49% of the
Patriots in a public offering.  He ended up selling the team to
Victor Kiam for about $83.7M.  Sullivan sued the NFL in '91 for
$116M in damages, charging that the policy against public
ownership forced him to sell the team at a lower price (May &
Grunwald, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/17).  The NFL said the court's ruling
undid a "travesty" against the league (Joseph Rebello, WALL
STREET JOURNAL, 9/19).  Will McDonough calls Sullivan's suit
"contrived," and adds, "Justice has been served" (BOSTON GLOBE,
9/17).
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