Judge Denies Class Action Status In Swimmers Antitrust Suit

On Monday, professional swimming’s governing body defeated a bid for up to $75 million in class action damages by three-time Olympic gold medalist Katinka Hosszú and US gold medalist Michael Andrew, reported Bloomberg.

Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley partly denied class certification to Hosszú, Andrew, and two-time US Olympian Tom Shields, saying the pay structure of the swimming league behind a related case and its links to Hosszú and Andrew—makes individual damages claims more appropriate.

In the lawsuit, “the plaintiffs charge FINA with unlawfully restraining competition in the market for top-tier international swimming competitions.” The San Francisco-based law firms Farella Braun + Martel and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, filed the suit. Simultaneously, the two firms filed a separate suit on behalf of the International Swim League, alleging anticompetitive conduct.

The popularity of competitive swimming has soared over the last decade, reported Bloomberg. Its athletes believe a professional league that will compensate its best athletes and better reward them for a lifetime’s worth of hard training and sacrifice is long overdue. 

Tom Shields, an Olympic gold medalist who, along with FINA World Champion swimmer Michael Andrew and Olympic gold medalist Katinka Hosszú, is a lead plaintiff in the proposed class-action lawsuit, said he joined the suit because he has dreamed for years of seeing the sport expand to include a professional league. “We are closer now than ever before to making that dream come true,” he said. “But that dream is being blocked by FINA.”

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