Presiding judge collapsed timelines for hearing UFC case after 9th Circuit ruling
Following yesterday’s news that the federal 9th Circuit Court had denied the UFC’s appeal in their antitrust case, the presiding Judge Richard Boulware made some moves to expedite things even further.
As Paul Gift reported at Forbes, Boulware had only recently “agreed to extend the deadlines for plaintiffs and the UFC to file follow-on summary judgment motions … The extensions gave the plaintiffs an additional 21 days to file their opposition to the UFC’s motion for summary judgment and the UFC an additional 43 days for its reply.
“Then yesterday, after learning of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, Boulware collapsed those extensions to just nine and three days, respectively.”
Boulware closed his order with these words: “…this case is set for trial on April 8, 2024. The parties are notified to be prepared to proceed to trial on that date; the Court will NOT grant a continuance,” he wrote.
Details on the 9th Circuit’s ruling
Jason Cruz of MMA Payout added a little bit of legal analysis to help our understanding of the 9th Circuit’s ruling yesterday. The top part allows the Chamber of Commerce to file an amicus brief in support of the UFC’s petition but at the end comes the kicker: “The petition for permission to appeal is denied.”
Here’s the ruling in full:
Cruz explains that the case cited, Chamberlan v. Ford Motor Co., “is cited for its explanation on the court’s hesitancy for an interlocutory appeal. Interlocutory appeals are appeals of a non-final order issued during the course of litigation. The section cited here relates to the court’s policy that it does not want to use court resources because they are “disruptive, time-consuming, and expensive.” The section goes on to say that “appeals add to the heavy workload of the appellate courts, require consideration of issues that may become moot, and undermine the district court’s ability to manage the class action.”
Cruz also reminds us that Zuffa’s request for a summary judgment, filed last October, is still out there claiming that “it does not have monopsony power, its competitors claimed that the UFC did not use anti-competitive means to obtain market power and that some of the class members lack standing since they cannot prove they were injured by the conduct.”
The standard for motions for summary judgment are that “there are no genuine issues of material fact and that the moving party [here Zuffa] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Second antitrust case also looming against UFC
The UFC also faces a 2021 lawsuit filed by Kajan Johnson, C.B. Dollaway and others. As we described it a the time, “it is almost identical to the current Le et al v Zuffa complaint, but with the major difference being on the proposed class period. The first complaint has the class period ending on June 30, 2017, while ‘Plaintiffs Johnson and Dollaway bring this case on behalf of those like themselves who fought a bout promoted by the UFC from July 1, 2017 to the present.’”
Based on the estimated damages from the previous period, adding at least another four years to the period could add another $1 billion or more to that total.
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