Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hecht v. Pro-Football, Inc. (Washington Redskins) case brief

Hecht v. Pro-Football, Inc. (Washington Redskins) case brief summary
570 F.2d 982 (1977)

Plaintiff, an unsuccessful applicant for a professional sports franchise, appealed a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia after a jury verdict favoring defendant sports franchise and defendant stadium authority.

Plaintiff, applicant for professional sports franchise, was thwarted in its efforts to procure a franchise due to an agreement restricting the use of defendant stadium authority's stadium to defendant sports franchise. Plaintiff sued, arguing defendants' agreement violated the Sherman and the Clayton Antitrust Acts, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1 et seq. and § 12 et seq., respectively. After a jury found for defendants, plaintiff appealed.

The federal appellate court reversed and ordered a new trial, finding that the district court judge had committed plain error with respect to several jury instructions. In particular, the court found that the district court had erroneously instructed the jurors that the relevant geographic market was nationwide (on the premise that professional sports franchises operated as part of national sports leagues) when in fact the appropriate market was the city in which the franchise was sought. Added to other lesser errors, this error meant that a new trial was required.

The court reversed the judgment and remanded for a new trial. The trial judge erroneously instructed the jurors that the applicable market was the nation as a whole, when in fact it was the city in which sports franchise was sought.

Suggested Study Aid For Sports Law

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