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SCOTUS Asked to Overturn Major League Baseball Antitrust Exemption

 |  September 19, 2023

Law firm Weil reportedly initiated a petition on Monday September 18 urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the long-standing common-law antitrust exemption in Major League Baseball.

Weil, on behalf of their clients including the Staten Island Yankees, Tri-City ValleyCats, Norwich Sea Unicorns, and Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Major League Baseball (MLB). Their claim alleges that MLB’s restructuring violates U.S. antitrust laws and challenges the Supreme Court’s unique “baseball exemption.”

Greg Silbert, Co-Head of Weil’s Appeals and Strategic Counseling group and Complex Commercial Litigation practice, stated, “There is no justifiable reason for MLB’s special antitrust exemption, an unusual historical exception not granted to other pro sports leagues. We seek the Supreme Court’s intervention to subject professional baseball to the same legal standards as other leagues.”

Related: ‘Moneyball Act’ Targets MLB’s Antitrust Exemption

Numerous prominent organizations and individuals are expected to submit amicus briefs in support of the petition soon.

Weil originally filed the lawsuit in December 2021 in the Southern District of New York. On June 15, 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a Statement of Interest on behalf of the plaintiffs, contending that the baseball exemption is an “anomaly” and should not be broadly interpreted, significantly favoring the plaintiffs and the likelihood of SCOTUS hearing the case. DOJ intervention at the District Court level is rare. As anticipated, on October 26, 2022, the court granted MLB’s motion to dismiss solely based on exemption grounds, rejecting MLB’s other defenses.

Source: Weil