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Professional Caddies Lose Class-Action Lawsuit Against The PGA Tour

A group of 168 professional caddies have lost a class-action lawsuit against the PGA Tour. The suit was initially filed in February last year on behalf of 81 caddies with the United States Northern District Court of California – the same court that Ed O’Bannon (former UCLA & NBA basketball player) successfully sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for preventing college athletes from selling individual marketing rights.

Towards the end of 2013, more than 100 PGA Tour caddies formed the Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC) with the premise of improving their working conditions with the Tour. A decision was made a year ago to file suit against the PGA Tour after failing to negotiate compensation for corporate sponsorships displayed on the bibs they’re required to wear at every tournament.

Lawyers for the caddies had estimated that the value of the advertising was upwards of $50 million annually.

The lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled. Chhabria’s ruling pointed to the fact that caddies had signed contracts with the PGA Tour specifying a requirement to wear uniforms and identification badges prescribed by each tournament.

The suit also included claims that the Tour interfered with the caddies’ ability to compete in the market, alleged antitrust violations, breach of contract and violations of California state law. Again, Judge Chhabria found no merit in these claims but conceded that they did have legible issues with the poor treatment they’re afforded by the Tour.

James Edmondson, the President of the APTC, respected the court’s decision and doesn’t plan to go any further with it. With the dismissal of the lawsuit, each of the 168 caddies must now decide individually whether they want to appeal or not.

The PGA Tour responded to the decision by stating, “We look forward to putting this matter behind us and moving forward in a positive direction with the caddies”.