Thursday, September 21, 2017

Update on Ninth Circuit Appeal in Golden Boy v. Haymon

In May 2015, Golden Boy Promotions sued Al Haymon and his various corporate entities, along with the hedge funds and individuals who funded the PBC for antitrust violations.  Specifically, Golden Boy alleged violations of the Sherman Act, including attempted monopolization (Section 2) and unlawful "tying" (Section 1); injunctive relief under the Clayton Act; violation of the California Unfair Practices Act; and unfair competition under California law.

In January 2017, Judge John Walter in the United States District Court, Central District of California wrote an opinion granting Haymon's motion for summary judgment against Golden Boy (the other defendants had already been dismissed from the case).  See the full opinion at the bottom of the article.

In summary, the Court denied the Section 2, Sherman Act claims as it found Haymon's exclusive television contracts did not foreclose Golden Boy or other promoters from access to television networks.  The Court further held that Golden Boy had not presented sufficient evidence of "venue blocking" or "predatory pricing".  The Court also held that Golden Boy could not establish antitrust injury based on violations of the Ali Act because the only parties with standing to assert such claims are boxers and government agencies.

The Section 1, Sherman Act claims were similarly denied as the Court did not find a tying arrangement between Haymon and his boxers as the provision in his contract that boxers could not sign promotional agreements without his approval did not prevent boxers from being promoted by competitors in the promotional market.  The Court also found that Golden Boy failed to demonstrate Haymon possessed market power in the tying product.  The Court criticized Golden Boy's experts for the "fundamental flaws" in their market definition.  Further, the Court held that the barriers to entry were very low in the boxing management market and that non-Haymon managed boxers had not been foreclosed from fighting Haymon-managed boxers on PBC broadcasts.

Having denied the Sherman Act claims, the Court denied injunctive relief under the Clayton Act. Similarly, since the federal Sherman Act claims were dismissed, the Court declined to exercise jurisdiction over the state law claims.

In February 2017, Golden Boy appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  In May 2017, the parties tried unsuccessfully to resolve their differences through arbitration.

In August 2017, the amended briefing schedule was set as follows: Golden Boy's opening brief  is due October 27, 2017; Haymon's answering brief is due December 15, 2017; and an optional reply brief from Golden Boy is due within 32 of service of the answering brief.

See the briefing order below: See the full opinion of Judge Walter below:

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