MLB seeks pre-trial appeal & plaintiffs seek class certification in anti-trust broadcasting litigation

Published 03 September 2014 By: Joseph M. Hanna

Baseball Pitcher

On Wednesday August 27, 2014, the MLB1 filed a motion for immediate interlocutory appeal2 with Judge Scheindlin in the Southern District of New York, seeking permission to appeal her recent order3 in their current antitrust litigation case.

The MLB’s geographically based broadcasting restrictions are currently being challenged in the SDNY by irate fans who are tired of blackout restrictions and the high prices of streaming games online. Earlier this month, Judge Scheindlin ruled against the MLB’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the oft-cited antitrust exemption did not apply to the MLB, allowing the claims to go forward to trial.

The motion to file an emergency appeal was filed to avoid costly and timely litigation that may prove to be irrelevant. The MLB argues in their motion that there is “substantial ground for difference of opinion” regarding whether the antitrust exemption applies to Major League Baseball. The league also cites to at least six Supreme Court decisions upholding the application of the antitrust exemption, claiming the established case law presents a pure question of law that “may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.

This development comes only one day after the plaintiffs in this action and the plaintiffs in a similar action against the National Hockey League sought certification for class treatment. The plaintiffs argued that the several cases are identical and seek the same relief: ending restrictions, blackouts, and overcharging due to anticompetitive broadcasting practices.


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Joseph M. Hanna

Joseph M. Hanna

Joseph Hanna is a partner of Goldberg Segalla and concentrates his practice in commercial litigation with a focus on sports and entertainment law and retail, hospitality, and development litigation. Joe represents sports franchises, professional athletes, and movie studios with various issues related to licensing, contracts, and day-to-day management. He serves as Chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Law Practice Group and editor of the firm’s Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog. In addition, Joe is the Chair of Goldberg Segalla's Diversity Task Force. He possesses an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
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