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DUMAS v. MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PROPERTIES

May 14, 1999

GRETCHEN DUMAS, AS GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR NICHOLAS CHASET, AND IRENE TORRES, AS GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR JON RODRIQUEZ, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PROPERTIES, INC., MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION, NBA PROPERTIES INC., NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION D/B/A NFL PLAYERS, INC., AND PLAYERS INC., NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE ENTERPRISES, NHL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION AND THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, DEFENDANTS. JON RODRIQUEZ, IRENE TORRES, AND GRETCHEN DUMAS, AS GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR NICOLAS CHASET, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS, V. THE TOPPS COMPANY, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Brewster, Senior U.S. District Judge.

     ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO STAY CASE PURSUANT TO THE FIRST-TO-FILE
               RULE; DENYING MOTIONS TO TRANSFER PURSUANT TO
          28 U.S.C. § 1404 (a); DENYING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

I. Introduction

This Order encompasses three motions bearing on five different cases. First, the League and Player Licensor Defendants*fn1 in Dumas et al. v. Major League Baseball Properties, et al. ("Dumas"), case no. 98 CV 1772-B (AJB), and Defendant The Topps Company, Inc. ("Topps") in Rodriquez et al. v. The Topps Company ("Rodriquez"), case no. 99 CV 2121-B (AJB), bring motions to dismiss, transfer, or stay their respective cases pursuant to the "first-to-file" rule.*fn2 Second, all Defendants in Dumas*fn3 and Topps in Rodriquez bring motions to transfer venue of, or, in the alternative, to stay, these actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404 (a). Finally, Plaintiffs bring a Motion to Consolidate the above-referenced cases with Schwartz v. Upper Deck, 96 CV 3408-P (AJB), Torres v. Pacific Trading Cards, Inc., 97 CV 1658-B (AJB), and Dumas v. Pinnacle Brands, Inc., 98 CV 1509-B (AJB).

II. Background

Plaintiffs have filed cases against various Manufacturers of trading cards and the Licensors of the supporting intellectual property in thirteen separate cases involving four federal judicial districts alleging, primarily, various RICO violations. The various actions are set forth below:

Summary of Actions

Plaintiff(s)                             Defendant(s)
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

Fishman, Price, Elgort, Laxer        v.  Marvel Entertainment Group
(filed July 26, 1996)
(dismissed Aug. 12, 1997)
Sullivan (Patricia and Sean), Kuba   v.  Topps
Schwartz, Fishman
(filed July 29, 1996)
(dismissed Aug. 12, 1997)
Laxer                                v.  NBA Properties
(filed Sept. 10, 1996)
(dismissed Aug. 13, 1997)
Laxer                                v.  Walt Disney
(filed Sept. 12, 1996)
(dismissed Aug. 13, 1997)
Laxer                                v.  Major League Baseball
(filed Sept. 12, 1996)                   Properties
dismissed Aug. 13, 1997
Laxer                                v.  National Football League
(filed Sept. 19, 1996)                   Properties
(dismissed Aug. 13, 1997)
Laxer                                v.  National Hockey League
(filed Sept. 19, 1996)                   Enterprises
(dismissed Aug. 13, 1997)
Major League Baseball Properties,    v.  Price, Elgort, Kuba, Sullivans,
NFL Properties, NBA Properties,          Fishman, Torres, Rodriquez,
NHL Enterprises                          Schwartz
(filed Sept. 22, 1998)
(pending)
NFL Players, Inc.                    v.  Kuba, Schwartz, Torres/Laxer
(filed Sept. 24, 1998)
(pending)
Topps                                v.  Price, Elgort, Torres/Rodriquez,
                                         Laxer
(filed Sept. 29, 1998)
(pending)

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

Schwartz, Kuba, Laxer, Sullivans     v.  Upper Deck
(filed July 30, 1996)
(pending)
Torres/Rodriquez, Fishman, Price,    v.  Pacific Trading Cards
Kuba
(filed Sept. 19, 1997)
(pending)
Dumas/Chaset                         v.  Pinnacle Brands
(filed June 5, 1998)
(pending)
Dumas/Chaset, Torres, Rodriquez      v.  Major League Baseball
(filed Sept. 29, 1999)                   Properties, MLB Players
(pending)                                Ass'n, NBA Properties,
                                         National Football League
                                         Properties, NFL Players

                                         Assoc., National Hockey
                                         League Enterprises, ...

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