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MLB Hires Sullivan & Cromwell For Antitrust Exemption Suit

 |  January 2, 2022

Major League Baseball has once again turned to Sullivan & Cromwell, this time to defend a lawsuit seeking to dismantle its long-recognized exemption from US antitrust law.

Sullivan & Cromwell partners John Hardiman and Benjamin Walker on Wednesday entered appearances in the case, which was filed by four minor league baseball teams over MLB’s controversial takeover of its farm system.

A lawsuit has been filed against Major League Baseball’s long-held antitrust exemption that could have profound consequences to the league.

The law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges is suing the league in response to the takeover of Minor League Baseball saying that MLB is positioning itself to control all facets of professional baseball. With the takeover, in September of 2020 MLB removed affiliation from 40 minor league clubs and regionally realigned them. Overall, the contraction decreased the total number of affiliated teams from 160 to 120.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court claims MLB’s takeover and contraction is a “naked, horizontal agreement to cement MLB’s dominance over all professional baseball.” The lawsuit adds, “There is no plausible procompetitive justification for this anticompetitive agreement.”

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