became LIV Golf v. PGA Tour Now Federal Lawsuit – Sportico.com

When Judge Beth Lapson Freeman held a hearing two weeks ago about golfers suing a team PGA TourLots of discussion centered At a party not in the room: Leaf golf. That has changed.

The Saudi-backed association recently joined the high-profile antitrust case he chairs Phil MickelsonThe addition of LIV comes with advantages and risks for plaintiffs.

On August 26, the plaintiffs’ lawyers filed a 118-page amended complaint, 23 days after they did so Foot Their original complaint is 106 pages long. While LIV is a new plaintiff, four golfers have dropped out – Pat Perez, Carlos Ortiz, Abraham Anser and Jason Kokrac. Perez and Ortiz told reporters that they still supported the lawsuit but were no longer interested in doing the tour. Kokrak, as S.gallery Hingerecently lost an endorsement deal with a US law firm as a result of joining LIV.

The amended complaint follows largely the same legal arguments. As seven golfers (fewer than the original 11 sued) and now the LIV claim, the PGA Tour is acting as an illegal monopoly in exercising so much control over the purchase of services offered by elite golfers. The Tour has been portrayed as attempting to undermine competition in the marketplace by restricting golfers’ ability to play in rival leagues, through, for example, its ability to suspend golfers. The alleged round suppression is portrayed as causing economic damage to golfers, who are forced to choose between the Tour and the LIV and consumers, who are denied opportunities to watch golf competitions featuring the best golfers rather than choose golfers from one of the two leagues. .

The entry of LIV is reflected in a new statistic, perverse interference, which refers to falsely inciting another party to breach of contract. LIV asserts that the PGA Tour attempted to “prevent professional golfers and other third parties from carrying out their contracts with LIV Golf.” The malicious interference claim shows how LIV, as a plaintiff, was able to make additional legal arguments. Having a wider range of allegations will make it difficult for the round to convince Judge Freeman to dismiss the case entirely.

As a plaintiff, LIV can also attempt to refute a possible deficiency in the original case. in denial A move for a restraining order that would have allowed Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones to play in the FedEx Cup playoffs, Freeman has drawn attention to LIV golfers who portray their new league as superior to the PGA Tour and to expert golfers. The importance of large LIV payments.

If the LIV is better than the PGA Tour, as Freeman’s logic suggested, then how can the Tour be a monopoly?

The amended complaint attempts to address this concern by noting that LIV can only compete by overpaying golfers, which is ineffective and no evidence of a competitive market for elite golfer services.

The amended complaint warns that “while LIV Golf has been able to continue launching its business in the face of above-competitive costs and artificially reduced access to supply (ie players), facing such headwinds is not sustainable.” To this end, the complaint asserts, “the entry of LIV Golf will be thwarted and its ability to maintain a meaningful competitive presence in the markets will be destroyed,” unless the court sided with LIV.

LIV warns that a loss “will not only harm LIV Golf, but also the competition.” This is a crucial point, as it attempts to convince Freeman and potential jurors that LIV’s competitiveness is not a sign that the market is competitive but rather that LIV has the potential and willingness to overspend. at this time.

The addition of the LIV also ensures that the case is not dependent on the continuing desire of individual golfers to sue against the PGA Tour. With four of the eleven golfers withdrawing within just a few weeks of starting the case, some of the remaining seven may eventually tire of attention and optics and similarly withdraw. The case is set to run several years, with a trial date currently set for January 8, 2024, and possible appeals that could run into the latter half of the decade. LIV, which is funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, has the resources and willingness to stay on until the case is over.

Joining a LIV also carries risks.

For starters, the PGA Tour could counter LIV for malicious interference, arguing that the LIV urged Tour golfers to breach their contractual obligations to abide by the rules of the Tour. The Tour likely suffered economic damage in the form of fewer elite golfers, as well as potential damage in terms of lost sponsorship and marketing opportunities.

Another risk to LIV is pre-trial detection. Even at this early stage of litigation, the two sides already compete Whether some of the materials contain trade secrets.

If Freeman orders the discovery, PGA Tour attorneys will likely seek witness testimony, emails, texts, and other evidence from the LIV relating to its contacts with Tour golfers and its relationship with the government of Saudi Arabia — notably Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been many in the United States. The international community, including President Biden, criticized the killing Washington Post Writer Jamal Khashoggi. Both the complaint and the amended complaints assert that “the tour has no problem accepting its sponsorship money from companies that do billions of dollars in business with Saudi Arabia each year.”

However, expect the round to differentiate its relationship with Saudi funding from that of LIV and to rely on any beneficial findings from the Ministry of Justice. probe in LIV.

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