OAKLAND, CA (FOX5) - The Oakland City Attorney announced Tuesday that the City will file a federal antitrust and breach of contract lawsuit against the National Football League, the Raiders and each of the other 31 NFL clubs.
The lawsuit was filed "to recover damages resulting from the Raiders’ illegal move to Las Vegas, including lost revenue, money that Oakland taxpayers invested in the Raiders and other costs," the city announced in a release Tuesday.
The city said "in voting to approve the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas and boycotting Oakland in the marketplace for hosting a football club, the NFL defendants violated federal antitrust laws." The city said the Raiders’ move also violated the NFL’s own policies for team relocation.
The City said it is seeking a "resolution for the maximum amount of damages available." The lawsuit will not ask the court to prevent the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas or to keep the team in Oakland.
“The defendants brazenly violated federal antitrust law and the league’s own policies when they boycotted Oakland as a host city,” City Attorney Barbara J. Parker said. “The Raiders’ illegal move lines the pockets of NFL owners and sticks Oakland, its residents, taxpayers and dedicated fans with the bill. The purpose of this lawsuit is to hold the defendants accountable and help to compensate Oakland for the damages the defendants’ unlawful actions have caused and will cause to the people of Oakland.”
"Recently, the NFL has allowed NFL clubs to move even when the relocation is a clear violation of its relocation policies. Threats of relocation are a central part of the NFL’s practice of demanding public financing for new stadiums, which significantly increase team revenues and ticket prices," the city said in the release.
"In violation of the antitrust laws, the NFL is using its cartel status to undermine competition and generate fortunes for themselves, all at a significant cost to taxpayers."
"City Attorney Parker will file the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, with the assistance of the law firms of Berg & Androphy and Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP, nationally recognized antitrust lawyers. The firms are working on a contingency basis, so their fees and costs will be paid solely from any recovery."
“The NFL has a long history of misusing its tremendous market power in violation of antitrust laws,” said Jim Quinn, the lead attorney from Berg & Androphy, who has successfully litigated against the NFL for more than 20 years, the city said. “This time, the NFL defendants violated their own bylaws in their effort to cash in on the Raiders’ move. Oakland is standing up to this unlawful and disloyal treatment by the league owners.”
“The NFL supposedly has objective rules about team location which were completely ignored,” Clifford Pearson, lead attorney from Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP said.
“Before a team is ripped from the fabric of a community, there needs to be a valid reason other than simply money. The City of Oakland deserved better treatment.”
The Oakland City Council voted to authorize the lawsuit on July 24, 2018, the city said.