SBD/Issue 179/Leagues & Governing Bodies

ATP Says American Needle Decision Will Not Affect Earlier Victory

The ATP Friday told a federal court that the Supreme Court’s American Needle decision does not affect the men’s tennis group’s earlier antitrust victory. The ATP won an antitrust challenge in ‘08 brought by one of its tournaments, but the event, owned by the German Tennis Federation, appealed to the Third Circuit. Earlier this week, GTF’s lawyer told the 3rd Circuit the American Needle decision now required that the case be returned to district court. The Supreme Court ruled that the NFL was not a single business, and that cap manufacture America Needle could sue the league. The NFL had argued it was immune under antitrust because it was in effect a single business. The ATP similarly argued it was akin to single entity in its defense, and indeed filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the NFL in the American Needle case. But the ATP’s lawyer, Brad Ruskin of Proskauer Rose, wrote Friday that American Needle did not mean the GTF case should be revived because the federation lost a jury trial, whereas American Needle’s lawsuit had been dismissed on summary judgment at the district and appeals court levels. Ruskin also maintained that the GTF had failed to prove antitrust injury. A decision from the appeals court is expected next month.

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