Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
If a plaintiff has otherwise failed to present evidence of causation under 15 U.S.C.S. § 1, he must show that he made a demand on the defendant to allow the plaintiff to take some action or obtain some benefit, which the defendant's challenged practice is allegedly preventing the plaintiff from taking or obtaining, in order to prove that the practice caused injury in fact.
After St. Louis lost its professional football team, extensive efforts began to obtain another team and resulted in the successful relocation. Many millions of dollars were spent in order to accomplish the relocation. Plaintiff visitor center, St. Louis Convention and Visitors Center, sued defendants National Football League and its member teams alleging that the expenditures were made necessary by actions of the defendant in violation of antitrust and tort law. The case was tried before a jury before it ended in a judgment in favor of the defendants, granting its motion for judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff's claims for Sherman Act conspiracy under 15 U.S.C.S. § 1, and for tortious interference with contract. Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of its claim. Defendants filed a cross appeal for the refusal of the district court to rule that the league and the member teams did not amount to a single entity for antitrust purposes.
Did the trial court err in granting defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff’s Sherman Act conspiracy under 15 U.S.C.S. § 1 and for tortious interference claims?
No. The court affirmed the order.
The court found that plaintiff visitor center presented no evidence to exclude the possibility that the owners who did not bid on the St. Louis lease were acting for independent business reasons rather than pursuant to the alleged agreement in restraint in trade, a requisite element to establishing a conspiracy under 15 U.S.C.S. § 1. The court then ruled that plaintiff failed to offer proof of causation or antitrust injury, as it did not present evidence to show there was a suppression of bidding on the lease, additionally noting that the tortious interference claim failed for the lack of evidence of a breach induced by defendant football league's conduct. Thus, the court concluded that as plaintiff visitor center failed to produce sufficient evidence to make out essential elements required under 15 U.S.C.S. § 1 and under Missouri law on tortious interference, defendant football league was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, the court held that defendant football league's cross-appeal was moot.