NCAA Seeks to Deny Class Action Certification…Based on eDiscovery?
Sixteen college athletes sued the NCAA and two other defendants in 2009 in the U.S. district court for the District of Northern California, alleging the defendants violated anti-trust laws by conspiring to fix players’ compensation at zero while at the same time using and profiting from the players’ names, images and likenesses. The NCAA requires college athletes to sign contracts waiving all rights they might otherwise have for media contracts, video games and other endorsement deals. Plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages for past violations as well as proactive steps to remedy the problem in the future, including setting up trusts to hold players’ earnings to be distributed after graduation.
Now, plaintiffs Ed O’Bannon, Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson are seeking to expand the class to include all similarly-situated Division 1 basketball and football players. The defendant opposed the class action certification and complain that they have already been producing responsive documents to the plaintiff electronic discovery requests totaling over 600,000 documents. Defendants claim that if the class is certified, the additional plaintiffs will introduce new legal theories and seek additional discovery, and requiring more money spent on the defense production.
Will the plaintiffs in this case be successful in getting the class certified by meeting the four prima facie elements of numerosity, commonality, typically and adequacy or is this suit headed into Wal-Mart v. Dukes territory? More on this question later this week. Our firm offers consultations and strategic planning and a wide range of cutting-edge eDiscovery services for plaintiff in class action lawsuits and multidistrict litigation; call us directly at 888-313-4457.