Raiders, NFL call Oakland’s lawsuit a “striking perversion of antitrust law”

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The City of Oakland has responded to the looming relocation of one of the most litigious franchises in sports with, drum roll, litigation. And now the Raiders and the NFL are trying to get the antitrust lawsuit filed over the coming move to Las Vegas thrown out of court.

It’s a very common maneuver whenever any lawsuit presents an aggressive and creative legal theory. Before spending tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars defending the case on the merits, the defendants try to knock it out with a device known as the motion to dismiss, for failure to state a claim. Basically, the argument goes this like this: “Even if everything they’re saying is true (and we reserve the right to later argue that it’s not), they can’t win.”

Via the Bay Area News Group, the Raiders and the NFL filed their motion to dismiss on March 1, calling the lawsuit a “striking perversion of antitrust law” and claiming that Oakland is trying to “turn antitrust on its head.”

The Raiders want to move to Las Vegas,” the team and the league wrote in the memorandum of law supporting the motion to dismiss. “Las Vegas wants to host the Raiders. The Las Vegas opportunity is more attractive, so much so that the Raiders are willing to pay a relocation fee over $300 million in order to move.”

Oakland’s antitrust argument has been confusing from the get-go. If anything, an antitrust violation would arise if the league tried to keep the Raiders — like all teams an independent business — from moving. Which is precisely what happened in the early ’80s, leading to a lawsuit that the Raiders won, and a the beefing up of the league’s relocation policy. Now, Oakland is separately claiming that the league has violated its own relocation policy, to the detriment of the city that will be losing the Raiders.

The Raiders and the NFL argue that the relocation policy doesn’t rise to the level of a “contract” or any other binding obligation to the cities where teams currently play. “The policy provides that clubs will attempt to develop ‘suitable stadium facilities in their home territories’ through good faith negotiations, but recognizes that this may not always be possible,” the defendants argue in the written submission to the court.

In April, Oakland will respond to the motion to dismiss in writing, a hearing date likely will be set (if it hasn’t already been), and the Raiders and the league will submit the final written paperwork on the matter before the presiding judge decides, apparently by June, whether to throw the case out or let it proceed. If it moves forward, a trial tentatively has been scheduled to begin in August 2021.

And so ends today’s session of the PFT Cracker Jack Box School Of Legal Miseducation.

8 responses to “Raiders, NFL call Oakland’s lawsuit a “striking perversion of antitrust law”

  1. The LA Chargers “relocated” and look at that disaster. The San Diego Fleet has more fans than the LA Chargers.

  2. The Raiders play in Oakland and are the only team in the NFL to share a stadium with a MLB baseball team. They play on a dirt infield for half the NFL season. Everyone knows this stadium is in very poor condition, constant sewage backups, crumbling infrastructure, dirty, rat infestations, poor sight lines, built for baseball. The Raiders had negotiated for 20 years with the city of Oakland for a new stadium and the city of Oakland refuses to give any money toward a new stadium, which is their freedom of choice. The Raiders received an $800 million offer from Las Vegas. End of story. Oakland had 20 years to come up with a solution and failed.

  3. Love my Oakland raiders. So many memories at the Coliseum. With that said, Oakland has failed with their sports teams in so many ways. The warriors will be gone, the raiders will be gone, and if it wadnt for the SF giants, the As would be playing in San Jose. Hard to defend the city that I went to for over 15 yrs to watch all 3 of those teams. I cant wait to see the new raiders stadium!!

  4. just wait until I file my class action lawsuit with all other Oakland fans who paid PSL fees. I will just follow the lead that the St Louis Rams fans did…they just paid out 31 million…The other funny thing is the $300 relocation fee paid over 10 years…that is after the NFL gave the raiders 200 million for the stadium, and the Raiders get a check every year from the Rams and Chargers from their relocation fee…..it all smoke and mirrors.

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