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In re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 11, 2014

IN RE NCAA STUDENT-ATHLETE NAME & LIKENESS LICENSING LITIGATION

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For Samuel Michael Keller, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff: Shana E. Scarlett, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Berkeley, CA; Celeste H.G. Boyd , PRO HAC VICE, The Paynter Law Firm PLLC, Chapel Hill, NC; Douglas A. Millen, Robert J. Wozniak, PRO HAC VICE, Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, Bannockburn, IL; Leonard W Aragon, PRO HAC VICE, Robert B. Carey, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Phoenix, AZ; Steve W. Berman, PRO HAC VICE, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Seattle, WA; Stuart McKinley Paynter, The Paynter Law Firm PLLC, Washington, DC; Swathi Bojedla, PRO HAC VICE, Hausfeld LLP, Washington, DC.

For Edward C. O'Bannon, Jr., Plaintiff: Allan Steyer, Donald Scott Macrae, Steyer Lowenthal Boodrookas Alvarez & Smith LLP, San Francisco, CA; Amanda Heather Kent, Girardi and Keese, Los Angeles, CA; Arthur N. Bailey, Arthur N. Bailey & Associates, Jamestown, NY; Arthur Nash Bailey , Jr., Bruce J. Wecker, Christopher L. Lebsock, Michael Paul Lehmann, Hausfeld LLP, San Francisco, CA; Bonny E. Sweeney, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, San Diego, CA; Brendan Patrick Glackin, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein LLP, San Francisco, CA; Brian L Schwalb, Seth Rosenthal, Venable LLP, Washington, DC; Bruce Lee Simon, Pearson Simon & Warshaw, LLP, San Francisco, CA; Carl A. Taylor Lopez, Lopez & Fantel, Seattle, WA; Carmen Anthony Medici, Robbins Geller Rudman Dowd LLP, San Diego, CA; Catherine Rosato Reilly, Cozen O'Connor, Washington, DC; Christopher Theo Hellums, Pittman Dutton and Hellums, P.C., Birmingham, AL; Daniel Cohen, Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP, Washington, DC; Daniel Simon Mason, San Francisco, CA; Derek G. Howard, Minami Tamaki LLP, San Francisco, CA; Dianne M. Nast, NastLaw LLC, Philadelphia, PA; Douglas A. Millen, PRO HAC VICE, Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, Bannockburn, IL; Edgar Dean Gankendorff, PRO HAC VICE, Provosty & Gankendorf LLC, New Orleans, La; Ellen Meriwether, Cafferty Faucher LLP, Philadelphia, PA; Eugene A. Spector, Jeffrey J. Corrigan, Jeffrey Lawrence Spector, Spector Roseman Kodroff & Willis, PC, Philadelphia, PA; Gabriel Dash Zeldin, Steyer Lowenthal Boodrookas Alvarez Smith LLP, San Francisco, CA; Hilary K. Scherrer, Hilary Kathleen Scherrer, Michael D. Hausfeld, Sathya S Gosselin, Hausfeld LLP, Washington, DC; Jack Simms, Tanya Chutkan, Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, Washington, DC; Jay S. Cohen, Spector, Roseman Kodroff & Willis, P.C., Philadelphia, PA; Jay L. Himes, Morissa R. Falk, Labaton Sucharow LLP, New York, NY; Jiangxiao Athena Hou, Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP, San Francisco, CA; Joel Cary Meredith, Meredith & Associates, Philadelphia, PA; Jonathan W. Cuneo, Cuneo Gilbert and LaDuca, LLP, Washington, DC, United Sta; Joseph R. Saveri, Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Inc., San Francisco, CA; Kimberly A. Kralowec, The Kralowec Law Group, San Francisco, CA; Melissa Helen Maxman, PRO HAC VICE, Cozen OConnor, Washington, DC; Mitchell J. Rapp, Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP, Minneapolis, MN; Renae Diane Steiner, PRO HAC VICE, Vincent J. Esades, Heins Mills & Olson, P.L.C., Minneapolis, MN; Robert G. Eisler, Grant & Eisenhofer P.A., Wilmington, DE; Robert William Finnerty, Girardi Keese, Los Angeles, CA; Robert J. Wozniak, PRO HAC VICE, Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, Bannockburn, IL; Ronald J. Aranoff, Bernstein Liebhard LLP., New York, NY; Shawn D. Stuckey, Zelle Hoffmann Voelbel & Mason LLP, Minneapolis, MN; Stanley M. Chesley, PRO HAC VICE, Waite Schneider Bayless & Chesley, Cincinnati, OH; Swathi Bojedla, PRO HAC VICE, Hausfeld LLP, Washington, DC; Thomas Kay Boardman, Pearson Simon, Warshaw and Penny, LLP, San Francisco, CA; Thomas V. Girardi, Girardi & Keese, Los Angeles, CA; Wilbert Benjamin Markovits, Markovits, Stock & DeMarco LLC, Cincinnati, OH; William G. Caldes, Spector Roseman Kodroff & Willis, P.C., Philadelphia, PA; William A. Isaacson, Boies Schiller & Flexner, Washington, DC.

For Bryon Bishop, Plaintiff: Austin B. Cohen, Levin Fishbein Sedran & Berman, Philadelphia, PA; David Haym Weinstein, Weinstein Kitchenoff & Asher, Philadelphia, PA; Donald L Perelman, Roberta D. Liebenberg, Fine Kaplan and Black, RPC, Philadelphia, PA; Douglas A. Millen, PRO HAC VICE, Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, Bannockburn, IL; Gerald J Rodos, Barrack Rodos and Bacine, Philadelphia, PA; Howard J. Sedran, Levin Fishbein Sedran & Berman, Philadelphia, PA; Jeffrey B. Gittleman, Barrack Rodos & Bacine, Philadelphia, PA; Jeremy S. Spiegel, Steven A. Asher, Weinstein Kitchenoff & Asher LLC, Philadelphia, PA; Joseph C. Kohn, Kohn Swift & Graf P.C., Philadelphia, PA; Karl Olson, Ram, Olson, Cereghino & Kopczynski LLP, San Francisco, CA; Mindee Jill Reuben, Weinstein Kitchenoff and Asher, LLC, Philadelphia, PA; Robert Joseph LaRocca , Kohn Swift and Graf, P.C., Philadelphia, PA; Swathi Bojedla, PRO HAC VICE, Hausfeld LLP, Washington, DC.

For Michael Anderson, Plaintiff: Tracy Tien, LEAD ATTORNEY, Rosemary M. Rivas, Finkelstein Thompson LLP, San Francisco, CA; Bryan L. Clobes, Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP, Philadelphia, PA; Douglas A. Millen, PRO HAC VICE, Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, Bannockburn, IL; Swathi Bojedla, PRO HAC VICE, Hausfeld LLP, Washington, DC.

For Michael E. Davis, Plaintiff: Brian Douglas Henri, Henri Law Group, Palo Alto, CA; Douglas A. Millen, PRO HAC VICE, Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, Bannockburn, IL; Swathi Bojedla, PRO HAC VICE, Hausfeld LLP, Washington, DC.

For Bobby C. Maze, Plaintiff: Gordon Ball, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Office Gordon Ball, Knoxville, TN; Douglas A. Millen, PRO HAC VICE, Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, Bannockburn, IL; Swathi Bojedla, PRO HAC VICE, Hausfeld LLP, Washington, DC.

For Ray Ellis, Plaintiff: Arthur Nash Bailey , Jr., Michael Paul Lehmann, Hausfeld LLP, San Francisco, CA; Douglas A. Millen, PRO HAC VICE, Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, Bannockburn, IL; Hilary K. Scherrer, Michael D. Hausfeld, PRO HAC VICE, Hausfeld LLP, Washington, DC; Stanley M. Chesley, PRO HAC VICE, Waite Schneider Bayless & Chesley, Cincinnati, OH; Wilbert Benjamin Markovits, Markovits, Stock & DeMarco LLC, Cincinnati, OH.

For Craig Newsome, Consol Plaintiff: Eric B. Fastiff, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein,LLP, San Francisco, CA; Daniel E. Gustafson, PRO HAC VICE, Jason Kilene, Gustafson Gluek PLLC, Minneapolis, MN; David A. Goodwin, Minneapolis, MN; Joseph R. Saveri, Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Inc., San Francisco, CA; Kelly M. Dermody, Leiff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, San Francisco, CA.

For Danny Wimprine, Consol Plaintiff: Tracy Tien, LEAD ATTORNEY, Rosemary M. Rivas, Finkelstein Thompson LLP, San Francisco, CA; Bryan L. Clobes, Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP, Philadelphia, PA; Dianne M. Nast, NastLaw LLC, Philadelphia, PA; Ellen Meriwether, Cafferty Faucher LLP, Philadelphia, PA; Lee Albert, Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP, New York, NY.

For Damien Rhodes, Consol Plaintiff: Dianne M. Nast, NastLaw LLC, Philadelphia, PA; Eric L. Cramer, Berger & Montague, P.C., Philadelphia, PA; Eric B. Fastiff, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein,LLP, San Francisco, CA; Joseph R. Saveri, Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Inc., San Francisco, CA; Joshua P. Davis, Law Offices of Joshua P. Davis, San Francisco, CA; Kelly M. Dermody, Leiff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, San Francisco, CA; Kendall S. Zylstra, PRO HAC VICE, Faruqi and Faruqi, LLP, Jenkintown, PA; Stephen E. Connolly, Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, Jenkintown, PA.

For Samuel Jacobson, Consol Plaintiff: Bruce Lee Simon, Pearson Simon & Warshaw, LLP, San Francisco, CA; Dianne M. Nast, NastLaw LLC, Philadelphia, PA; Garrett D. Blanchfield , Jr., Reinhardt Wendorf & Blanchfield, St. Paul, MN; Joe Sibley, Kiwi Alejandro Danao Camara, Camara & Sibley LLP, Houston, TX; Thomas Kay Boardman, Pearson Simon, Warshaw and Penny, LLP, San Francisco, CA.

For Ishmael Thrower, Consol Plaintiff: Donald Chidi Amamgbo , Esq., LEAD ATTORNEY, Amamgbo & Associates, Oakland, CA; Reginald Von Terrell, The Terrell Law Group, Oakland, CA; Tesfaye Wolde Tsadik, Law Offices of Tesfaye Tsadik, Oakland, CA.

For Oscar P. Robertson, Consol Plaintiff: Arthur Nash Bailey , Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Michael Paul Lehmann, Hausfeld LLP, San Francisco, CA; Hilary K. Scherrer, Michael D. Hausfeld, PRO HAC VICE, Hausfeld LLP, Washington, DC; Stanley M. Chesley, PRO HAC VICE, Waite Schneider Bayless & Chesley, Cincinnati, OH; Terence Richard Coates, Markovits, Stock & DeMarco, LLC, Cincinnati, OH, United Sta; Wilbert Benjamin Markovits, Markovits, Stock & DeMarco LLC, Cincinnati, OH.

For William F Russell, Consol Plaintiff: Arthur Nash Bailey , Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Michael Paul Lehmann, Hausfeld LLP, San Francisco, CA; Michael D. Hausfeld, PRO HAC VICE, Hausfeld LLP, Washington, DC.

For Electronic Arts Inc., Defendant: Robert James Slaughter, LEAD ATTORNEY, Robert Adam Lauridsen, Robert Addy Van Nest, Steven A. Hirsch, Keker & Van Nest LLP, San Francisco, CA.

For National Collegiate Athletic Association, Defendant: Glenn Douglas Pomerantz, LEAD ATTORNEY, Kelly Max Klaus, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Juan Carlos Araneda, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jason Alex Geller, Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson LLP, San Francisco, CA; Robert James Wierenga, LEAD ATTORNEY, Frederick Richard Juckniess, Gregory L. Curtner, Schiff Hardin LLP, Ann Arbor, MI; Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke, Munger, Tolles Olson LLP, San Francisco, CA; David P. Borovsky, Long & Levitt LLP, San Francisco, CA; Glen Robert Olson, Long & Levit LLP, San Francisco, CA; Glenn D Pomerantz, Munger Tolles and Olson, Los Angeles, CA; Jeslyn A Miller, Munger Tolles Olson, SF, CA; Jessica Anne Sprovtsoff, PRO HAC VICE, Kimberly K. Kefalas, Schiff Hardin LLP, Ann Arbor, MI; Justin Paul Raphael, Munger Tolles and Olson, San Francisco, CA; Matthew S. Weiler, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, San Francisco, CA; Nathan M. Rehn, Munger Toller & Olson LLP, San Francisco, CA; Rocky N. Unruh, Schiff Hardin LLP, San Francisco, CA; Rohit K. Singla, Munger Tolles & Olson, San Francisco, CA; Suzanne Wahl, Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone PLC, Ann Arbor, MI; Thane Rehn, Munger, Tolles and Olson, San Francisco, CA.

For Collegiate Licensing Company, Defendant: Amber Melia Trincado, King & Spalding LLP, San Francisco, CA; Christina E. Fahmy, Kilpatrick Townsend, Washington, DC; Cindy Dawn Hanson, Sara M. Vanderhoff, William Howard Brewster, PRO HAC VICE, R. Charles Henn , Jr., Kilpatrick Stockton LLP, Atlanta, GA; Constance K. Robinson, Kilpatrick Stockton LLP, Washington, DC; Courtney Elizabeth Curtis, Gersh | Derby, LLP, Attorneys of Law, Encino, CA; Gregory S. Gilchrist, Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton LLP, San Francisco, CA; James C. Potepan, LeClairRyan LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Jason Alex Geller, Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson LLP, San Francisco, CA; Peter M. Boyle, Kilpatrick Stockton LP, Washington, DC; Robert James Slaughter, Keker & Van Nest LLP, San Francisco, CA; Svetlana S. Gans, Kilpatrick Stockon LLP, Washington, DC.

For BIG TEN NETWORK, LLC, Interested Party: David R. Singer, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jenner & Block, Los Angeles, CA.

For Big 12 Conference, Interested Party: Andrew S. Rosenman, Mayer Brown LLP, Chicago, IL; Leane K Capps, Polsinelli PC, Dallas, Tx; Milton Winter, Polsinelli PC, Kansas City, MO.

For James E. Delany, Interested Party; Andrew S. Rosenman, Mayer Brown LLP, Chicago, IL.

For Pac-12 Conference, Larry Scott, Interested Parties: Scott P. Cooper, LEAD ATTORNEY, Proskauer Rose LLP, Los Angeles, CA.

For Conference USA, Interested Party: Michael Paul Cutler, LEAD ATTORNEY, Polsinelli LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Leane K Capps, Polsinelli PC, Dallas, Tx.

For James Brown, James " Jim" Brown, Herbert Anthony Adderley, Amici: Mark Steven Lee, LEAD ATTORNEY, Manatt Phelps & Phillips, Los Angeles, CA.

For Fox Broadcasting Company, Big Ten Network, LLC., Amici: Richard Lee Stone, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jenner & Block, Los Angeles, CA.

For Non-Party Collegiate Images, LLC, Non-Party XOS Technologies, Inc., Miscellaneous: Cindy Hamilton, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, East Palo Alto, CA.

For NBA, Miscellaneous: Jose R. Allen, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Palo Alto, CA.

For The Big Ten Conference, Inc., Miscellaneous: Andrew S. Rosenman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Mayer Brown LLP, Chicago, IL.

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ORDER RESOLVING CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND CLASS DEFINITION; DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (Docket Nos. 898, 911, 933, 998)

CLAUDIA WILKEN, United States District Judge.

Plaintiffs, a group of current and former college athletes, bring this antitrust class action against Defendant National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). They initially brought claims against Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) and Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), as well, but agreed in September 2013 to settle those claims. Plaintiffs now move for summary judgment on all antitrust class claims against the NCAA. The NCAA opposes the motion and cross-moves for summary judgment on those claims. Amici curiae, Fox Broadcasting Company and Big Ten Network, LLC (collectively, Networks), filed a brief supporting the NCAA's summary judgment motion. After considering the parties' submissions and oral argument, the Court grants in part Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and denies it in part and denies the NCAA's cross-motion for summary judgment. In addition, the Court grants Plaintiffs' motion to amend the class definition and denies their motion for leave to seek reconsideration of the Court's class certification order.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs are twenty-four current and former student-athletes who played for NCAA men's football or basketball teams between 1953 and the present. All played at the Division I level, the highest level of collegiate athletic competition,[1] and many went on to play professionally, as well. In the present case, four of the Plaintiffs (Right-of-Publicity Plaintiffs) allege that the NCAA misappropriated their names, images, and likenesses in violation of their statutory and common law rights of publicity. The other twenty Plaintiffs (Antitrust Plaintiffs) allege that the NCAA violated federal antitrust law by conspiring with

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EA and CLC to restrain competition in the market for the commercial use of their names, images, and likenesses. The instant motions address only the latter set of claims, which arise under the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § § 1 et seq.

Antitrust Plaintiffs [2] initiated the first of these consolidated actions in 2009 and filed the operative Third Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint (3CAC) in July 2013. Docket No. 832. They allege that the NCAA engaged in anti-competitive conduct by conspiring to sell or license the names, images, and likenesses of Division I men's football and basketball players, without their consent, for use in live television broadcasts, archival game footage, and NCAA-branded videogames featuring player-avatars modeled after real student-athletes. They accuse the NCAA, EA, and CLC of engaging " in an overarching conspiracy to: (a) fix the amount current and former student-athletes are paid for the licensing, use, and sale of their names, images, and likenesses at zero; and (b) foreclose current and former student-athletes from the market for the licensing, use, and sale of their names, images, and likenesses." 3CAC ¶ 14.

In 2012, Plaintiffs moved to certify a class of current and former Division I football and basketball players to pursue declaratory and injunctive relief. In particular, they sought an injunction barring the NCAA from enforcing any rules, bylaws, or organizational policies that prohibit current and former student-athletes from seeking compensation for the commercial use of their names, images, or likenesses. According to Plaintiffs, these rules, bylaws, and policies form an integral part of the NCAA's price-fixing conspiracy and operate to restrain competition in two distinct but related markets: (1) the " college education" market, in which Division I colleges and universities compete to recruit the best student-athletes to play football or basketball; and (2) the " group licensing" market, in which broadcasters and videogame developers compete for group licenses to use the names, images and likenesses of all student-athletes on particular Division I football and basketball teams in live game broadcasts, archival footage, and videogames. Id. ¶ 391.

Plaintiffs also moved to certify a subclass of current and former student-athletes to pursue monetary damages. Specifically, they sought compensation for the unauthorized use of student-athletes' names, images, and likenesses in broadcast footage and videogames after July 2005, which is the earliest date on which Plaintiffs could recover damages under the Sherman Act's four-year statute of limitations. See 15 U.S.C. § 15b.

In September 2013, while their class certification motion was pending, Plaintiffs reached a settlement in principle with EA and CLC. The parties represented that this settlement would resolve all of Plaintiffs' pending antitrust and right-of-publicity claims against EA and CLC. Based on this representation, the Court vacated EA and CLC's remaining discovery and dispositive motion deadlines in October 2013 so that they could finalize the terms of their agreement and Plaintiffs could move for preliminary settlement approval. Docket No. 870. As of this date, the parties have yet to finalize their agreement and move for preliminary approval.

In November 2013, this Court issued its class certification order. Docket No. 893, Nov. 8, 2013 Order, at 23-24. The Court

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granted Plaintiffs' request to certify the injunctive relief class but denied their request to certify a damages subclass, citing various barriers to class manageability.

On November 15, 2013, one week after the class certification order issued, Plaintiffs filed the instant motion for summary judgment. The NCAA cross-moved for summary judgment one month later. While these motions were pending, Plaintiffs moved for leave to seek partial reconsideration of the class certification order and moved to amend the class definition in the class certification order.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is properly granted when no genuine and disputed issues of material fact remain, and when, viewing the evidence most favorably to the non-moving party, the movant is clearly entitled to prevail as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Eisenberg v. Ins. Co. of N. Am., 815 F.2d 1285, 1288-89 (9th Cir. 1987).

The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no material factual dispute. Therefore, the court must regard as true the opposing party's evidence, if supported by affidavits or other evidentiary material. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Eisenberg, 815 F.2d at 1289. The court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); Intel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 952 F.2d 1551, 1558 (9th Cir. 1991).

Material facts which would preclude entry of summary judgment are those which, under applicable substantive law, may affect the outcome of the case. The substantive law will identify which facts are material. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Where the moving party does not bear the burden of proof on an ...


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