Antitrust Lawsuits Against the NCAA

Sports attorney Jeffrey Kessler has filed an antitrust suit in the New Jersey District Court against the NCAA and its five major conferences alleging a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Kessler discusses the lawsuit in this report.

Jeffrey Kessler

Jeffrey Kessler

One of the latest developments is that the antitrust lawsuit is being supported by the directors of the NFL and National Basketball Players associations. There are several cases proceeding simultaneously. Kessler says that the next step in the litigation will be a hearing on motions to dismiss. Kessler notes that his suit is separate from the others because it has some different objectives.

Kessler believes that this case is similar to his work in gaining free agency in the professional sports. “Players [in earlier years] had very, very few rights” and low compensation. Owners strongly opposed free agency, but the subsequent creation of free agency has “made the system fair [and] enhanced fan interest.” The NCAA, Kessler says, is making the same arguments that were made by professional team owners.

Kessler’s goal is to obtain fair treatment for college players. He suggests that some officials support change, but these people are not necessarily in control and may not be able to persuade others to change. Kessler says that an ideal situation would be to let competition decide how things should work, let the institutions decide how things should work.

Kessler believes describing the current system as a cartel is absolutely accurate.

Jeffrey L. Kessler is a partner in the firm’s New York office who serves as the head of the global antitrust/competition practice and co-chairs the sports law practice group. Additionally, Mr. Kessler serves on the firm's Executive Committee. Mr. Kessler is also one of the most prominent lawyers in the country regularly engaged in high-profile sports litigation. He has litigated some of the most famous sports-antitrust cases in history, including McNeil v. the NFL, the landmark antitrust jury trial which led to the establishment of free agency in the National Football League (NFL), and Brady v. NFL, which led to the end of the 2011 NFL lockout.   The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Insider Trading—A Conversation with Dennis Farrah

Phil Mickelson made the news when there were suggestions that he was involved in insider trading with investor Carl Icahn and gamble William Walters. LBN reported on the matter in our June 3, 2014 video. In this report, tax advisor Dennis Farrah explains what the allegations are all about.

Dennis Farrah

Dennis Farrah

Farrah explains that the SEC rules are very specific about insider trading. Carl Icahn, an activist investor, was preparing to buy a lot of shares in Clorox. An action like that would cause the value of Clorox shares to rise. “Now that’s fine, if you keep that to yourself,” Farrah notes. But if you tell your friends what you are planning to do and suggest that they buy the stock themselves, you have engaged in insider trading.

The SEC wants to know why Walters and Mickelson bought Clorox stock before the announcement was made that Icahn was interested in Clorox. And insider trading is a serious issue for those accused of it. The men involved “could be facing up to twenty years in prison” as well as very large fines. Farrah points out that the whole purpose of investing is to put money into businesses to create jobs and generate profits. Investment “is not to be used as a Las Vegas crapshoot.”

Dennis M Farrah, owner and president of Farrah Tax Advisory Group, has been providing financial planning, estate planning, and retirement planning for 25 years and has been operating in the Denver metro area for 30 years. As a financial advisor in Denver, he has helped many people get the best value for their money. Dennis has recently opened a second office in the Colorado Springs area to better service clients in the southern part of Colorado. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

FCC Net Neutrality Vote—Fast Lanes Coming?

On May 15, 2014, the FCC voted along party lines in favor of a proposal that would permit Internet Service Providers to charger higher fees to those who seek to deliver higher quality content to U.S. consumers—the so-called “fast lane” plan. This would jeopardize the concept of net neutrality.

The idea behind net neutrality is that ISPs should charge all websites the same fees to deliver content through the Internet. The idea of the fast lane service would be to permit ISPs to charge higher fees to companies like Netflix and YouTube, whose streaming content consumes considerable bandwidth.

The vote is not a final outcome, however. The proposed rule change will be open to receive public comment until September. Many high tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon, have strongly protested against the fast lane idea. (As of late July, over a million comments had been filed with the FCC.)

As to the proposed rule’s effect on consumers, practically speaking, there is none at the moment. There have been no net neutrality rules in effect for months since a court of appeals reject the FCC’s old net neutrality rules in January, 2014. There has been no public outcry that traffic has slowed down or been blocked by ISPs. The final decision will not be announced until November, probably after the mid-term elections.

The pros and cons of net neutrality have been widely discussed and debated. Viewers can expect more discussion as the date for the decision draws nearer.

The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group