Radovich v. Nat. Football League

RESPONDENT: Nat. Football League
LOCATION: Military Stockade

LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 352 US 445 (1957)
ARGUED: Jan 17, 1957
DECIDED: Feb 25, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for Radovich v. Nat. Football League

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 17, 1957 (Part 1) in Radovich v. Nat. Football League

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 17, 1957 (Part 2) in Radovich v. Nat. Football League

Earl Warren:

Mr. Keith, you may proceed.

Maxwell Keith:

May it please the Court.

The court below based its decision on asking itself one query, whether or not football is a team sport.

In the Boxing case, this was not the query that was asked by this Court.

This Court asked itself five questions.

The first one was, “Had any court ever held that the business of boxing was outside the scope of the antitrust laws?”

No court has ever held that football was outside the scope of the antitrust laws.

The second question that this Court asked was, “Could the stare decisis help the boxing defendants?”

And in stating that the Hart case show that to all businesses, athletic or otherwise that the question of interstate commerce was decided in the Federal Baseball case and that subsequent developments of facts in the use of interstate television and -- and radio transmission had affected and changed that the boxing people had used these interstate communications.

And therefore, it was at we're within the scope of the Sherman Acts insofar as there was a question of interstate commerce.

And likewise the football defendants have used extensively interstate transmission of television and radio.

Then this Court stated that Federal Baseball did not hold that all professional sports are outside of the antitrust laws so as to preclude boxing in the same statement would be applicable as to football.

Then the Court asked, “What is the congressional intent involved?”

And the Court noted that there were three -- three bills in the House and one bill in the Senate which would have exempted all professional team sports from the application of the antitrust laws that said that Congress had specifically refused to pass legislation and have said that the boxing defendants were asking of this Court the very thing which Congress had refused to grant.

And it is submitted that football people are asking the same consideration.

They are asking this Court to exempt them but Congress specifically would have immunized this action.

The question of public injury was also raised by the court below and this is of significance in the private antitrust action.

There was no requirement under the plain wording of Section 4 of the Clayton Act, where a private party who alleged that the public was somehow injured by a violation of the antitrust laws.

Section 4 of the Clayton Act reads as follows, “That any person who shall be injured in his business or property by reason of anything forbidden in the antitrust laws may sue therefore in any District Court of the United States in the district in which the defendant reside or was found or has an agent without respect for the amount in controversy and to recover threefold the damages by him sustained and the cost of suit concluding a reasonable attorney fees.”

This Court has never held that there was a -- added requirements to state a cause of action under the antitrust laws by a private party that he must allege that the public was adversely affected by the violation of the antitrust laws.

And I think that this question goes to the very heart and nature of the private action.

The private action certainly is not a derivative right stemming from under the public.

And it is more than an ancillary action to aid the Government in prosecution of the antitrust laws.

It is a direct right granted by Congress to allow personal redress from those who inflict injuries on private parties.

The congressional concern of this Act was with the redressing of those who were oppressed, who are ruined by the type of combinations and the type of monopoly power that the Acts in general condemn is respectfully submitted that the Court erred in dismissing our complaint as a matter of law and that we should be entitled to prove our allegations of a trial on the merits.

Thank you.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Elman.

Philip Elman:

May it please the Court.

United States is appearing in this case as amicus curiae escorting as according to the petitioner.

In this case, as in the Boxing case that came before the Court two terms ago, the question is whether the logic of the baseball decisions requires the holding that the Sherman Act also extends the exemption to other businesses involving sports.