United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Association’s monopolistic policy – Antecedent agreement
Relevent Sports v. U.S. Soccer Federation
Judges Livingston, Lynch, and Lohier
Background: The plaintiff is a soccer promoter, and it alleges that the defendants adopted and enforced a geographic market division policy in 2018 that unlawfully prohibited soccer leagues and teams from playing official games outside of their home territory. The plaintiff appealed from the dismissal of its Sherman Antitrust and Clayton Antitrust Act claims.
Ruling: The Appellate Division vacated and remanded. The court noted that the district court wrongly concluded that the plaintiff failed to allege that the anticompetitive conduct stemmed from a prior agreement to enter into a 2018 policy. Rather, the plaintiff was challenging an association policy or rule that governs the conduct of the members’ separate businesses. The plaintiff need not allege an antecedent agreement to agree.
Jeffrey L. Kessler, Winston & Strawn, for the plaintiff-appellant; Kannon K. Shanmugam, of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Gregory G. Garre, of Latham & Watkins, for the defendants-appellees.