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Players Add Plaintiffs, Amend Their Minnesota Complaint v. NBA

Last week, Caron ButlerBen GordonAnthony Tolliver, and Derrick Williams filed a Class Action Complaint against the NBA and its member teams in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.  At roughly the same time, another class of NBA players filed a similar lawsuit in the Northern District of California.  The California lawsuit has since been dismissed without prejudice, and the Complaint filed in Minnesota has been amended to include the Plaintiffs from the California suit.

The following list displays the current class of Plaintiffs in the Minnesota lawsuit along with their respective agents.

  • Carmelo Anthony – Leon Rose (CAA)
  • Chauncey Billups – Andy Miller (ASM Sports)
  • Caron Butler – Raymond Brothers
  • Baron Davis – Bill Duffy (BDA Sports)
  • Kevin Durant – Aaron Goodwin (Goodwin Sports Management)
  • Ben Gordon – Raymond Brothers
  • Kawhi Leonard – Brian Elfus (Impact Sports Management)
  • Steve Nash – Bill Duffy (BDA Sports)
  • Leon Powe – Aaron Goodwin (Goodwin Sports Management)
  • Anthony Randolph – Bill Duffy (BDA Sports)
  • Rajon Rondo – Bill Duffy (BDA Sports)
  • Sebastian Telfair – Andy Miller (ASM Sports)
  • Anthony Tolliver – Larry Fox
  • Derrick Williams – Rob Pelinka (Landmark Sports Agency)

With the addition of the new Plaintiffs, there no longer appears to be a claim that all Plaintiffs are somehow tied to the state of Minnesota (other than the fact that they all travel to Minnesota in away games against the Timberwolves).  My friend Marc Edelman, who I consider to be one of the leading experts on Antitrust in Sport, believes that the NBA players smartly dismissed their California Complaint in favor of joining up with the class in Minnesota.  He feels that it will be easier for the class to argue market power in the Minnesota jurisdiction as opposed to the Northern District of California jurisdiction, where precedent may have worked against the players’ arguments.

NBA players will now put up a fight, in unison, in the same court that NFL players were heard within the past year.  The Honorable Patrick J. Schlitz is the judge that has been randomly selected to hear the NBA case.  As Michael McCann has pointed out, Judge Schlitz was a lawyer in the case concerning the Timberwolves’ attempt at relocating to New Orleans and has represented the NFL in several cases.

NBA Amended Complaint in Minnesota

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.