Weil Files Antitrust Class Action on Behalf of Elite Rodeo Association and Top Professional Athletes

Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 15:01

On Monday, November 9, 2015, Weil filed an antitrust class action lawsuit in Texas federal court on behalf of the newly-founded Elite Rodeo Association (ERA), and several of its owners who are the best athletes, alleging violations of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act for an illegal group boycott and unlawful monopolization by defendant Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), the dominant sanctioning body in the sport. The suit challenges, as unfair, retaliatory, and illegal, bylaws passed by PRCA. The complaint seeks injunctive relief that prevents the enforcement of the current PRCA bylaws; the implementation of new anti-competitive bylaws preventing any professional rodeo athletes and third parties from participating in both ERA and PRCA events; and retaliation against ERA athletes.

Among other anti-competitive restrictions, the new PRCA bylaws prevent ERA rodeo athletes from participating in PRCA-sanctioned events. Additionally, the bylaws prohibit rodeo committees and other contracting parties like facilities and vendors from participating in non-PRCA rodeo events, including ERA events, within 72 hours before or after any PRCA-sanctioned event. Nationwide, PRCA-sanctioned events take place several times per month, year-round, often with multiple events occurring simultaneously, meaning the 72-hour window before and after any PRCA-sanctioned event effectively prevents numerous entities involved in and necessary to the sport of rodeo from participating in an ERA event.

The Weil team is led by Complex Commercial Litigation partner James W. Quinn and Antitrust Litigation partner Eric S. Hochstadt in New York. The team also includes Complex Commercial Litigation partner Ray Guy in Dallas and associates John Gerba, David Fitzmaurice, and Lauren Jacobson in New York and Olivia Miller in Dallas.