City of Oakland sues Raiders

On Tuesday December 12, 2018, the city of Oakland, California announced that it filed a federal lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders and the National Football League (NFL). The city is suing under an antitrust theory and alleging that the Raiders and NFL amount to a “cartel” which is “boycotting Oakland in the marketplace for hosting a football club” and, thus, violating federal antitrust laws. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the NFL and all its teams unlawfully conspired to harm the city to secure illegitimate profits. As part of the antitrust suit, the city is also alleging that the Raiders’ move violated the NFL’s own policies for team relocation. Because the city has chosen to sue under an antitrust theory, there is a possibility for treble damages, meaning damages under antitrust law are automatically multiplied by three plus attorneys’ fees. The city is seeking unspecified damages that could amount to many millions of dollars. It should be noted that even if Oakland’s lawsuit is successful it would not block the Raiders’ planned move to Las Vegas in 2020.

This article was written with contributions from Tim Piscatelli.

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