SBD/28/Leagues Governing Bodies

SULLIVAN TO GET ANOTHER TRIAL ON NFL ANTITRUST MATTER

     The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear an appeal
by the NFL on a federal appeals court ruling that William
Sullivan, former owner of the Patriots, may bring his antitrust
case again before a federal court jury.  In the case, Sullivan
was awarded $17M by a jury in damages after challenging the
legality of the league's ban on the sale of any team's stock to
the public.  The jury found that the NFL's ban on public
ownership -- exclusive to the league -- violated antitrust law
"because it restricted competition for investment money by those
who might want to buy or sell shares of team ownership."  As
antitrust law dictates, the damages were tripled to $51M.  In
September, the federal appeals court in Boston threw out the
ruling because of faulty trial instructions, but declined to end
the case as the league "had urged it to do."  The NFL contended
that owners do not act in competition, but "as a single economic
unit."  Sullivan's case will now go before a jury trial in Boston
federal court (Lyle Denniston, Baltimore SUN, 2/28).
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