Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ludtke and Time, Inc. v. Kuhn case brief

Ludtke and Time, Inc. v. Kuhn case brief summary
461 F.Supp. 86 (1978)

Plaintiffs, a female sports reporter and her publisher, brought a civil rights action against defendants, a baseball commissioner, a league president, a baseball team, and three city officials. Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief to prohibit defendants from enforcing an order of the commissioner that barred female sports reporters from the locker rooms of major league baseball teams. The city officials were later dismissed from the action.

The commissioner issued an order that female sports reporters were barred from the locker rooms of major league baseball teams. Female reporters were thus placed at a competitive disadvantage with their male counterparts because the male reporters obtained a great deal of information from locker room interviews.

The court held that plaintiffs were entitled to judgment as a matter of law and granted the injunction. Because the stadium where the baseball team played was owned by the city and was controlled by the city, the barring of the reporter from the locker rooms was state action according to the five-prong test used for claims under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Furthermore, the commissioner's rule violated the reporter's equal protection and due process rights. The barring of female reporters was not substantially related to the protection of the privacy of the players and deprived the reporter of equal protection under the law. The rule also unreasonably interfered with the reporter's fundamental right to pursue her profession, a violation of her due process rights.


The court ruled that the reporter was entitled to the injunctive relief that she sought and an award of counsel fees. The court issued an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the commissioner's rule that totally excluded accredited female sports reporters from the locker rooms at the team's stadium, and the court ordered the development of a constitutionally satisfactorily means to preserve the privacy of the baseball players.

Suggested Study Aid For Sports Law

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