The Raiders and NFL are asking a judge to toss out a lawsuit filed by Oakland, arguing the city’s claims “turn antitrust on its head” and are a “striking perversion of antitrust law.”
Attorneys for the team, league and its 31 other franchises laid out their legal arguments for the first time in court papers filed March 1. Spero is expected to rule on June 7 whether to dismiss the lawsuit. Both sides met for the first time in San Francisco before U.S. District Judge Joseph C. Spero on Friday afternoon.
Oakland filed suit in December, alleging the NFL and Raiders violated antitrust laws by approving the move to Las Vegas, and said doing so amounted to a group boycott of Oakland. Outside attorneys have taken the city’s case on a contingency basis, meaning it comes at no cost to the city. The city also alleges in its suit that the Raiders violated the league’s relocation policy by not seriously negotiating with Oakland and Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott’s group, which proposed to help finance a new stadium at the Coliseum.
But attorneys for the Raiders and NFL wrote that the competition between Las Vegas and Oakland was not a violation of antitrust laws, which are designed to promote competition and prohibit monopolies. The city did not suffer antitrust injury, the attorneys said, but rather “the injury flows from an increase in competition” and “another community’s willingness to make an offer better than Oakland’s.”
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