Judge rules against PGA Tour, antitrust lawsuit will proceed as scheduled

Judge rules against PGA Tour, antitrust lawsuit will proceed as scheduled
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Despite ongoing discovery disputes and the legal complications caused by recent rulings, a U.S. District Court judge ordered the antitrust case between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to move ahead as scheduled.

The case, which was filed against the Tour last August by a group of players who had joined the Saudi-backed league, is on an expedited schedule and set for trial in January 2024. That, the Tour’s attorney argued in a video conference call with the judge Friday, is untenable given how complicated the case has become.

On Thursday the Tour filed an amended motion to include the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and its governor as defendants in its countersuit against LIV Golf. The PIF plans to oppose that motion on multiple grounds, including sovereign immunity, but that, argued the fund’s lead attorney John Quinn, is “no reason to hold up this case.”

Judge Beth Labson Freeman agreed with LIV Golf and PIF’s push to remain on the expedited schedule but appeared to warn that could change.

“I’m concerned that everyone is dragging their feet on discovery on both sides … [but] it’s premature to postpone the case now,” Labson Freeman said. “I know we all want this to move to trial as quickly as possible, but it has to be done in the right way.”

Labson Freeman urged both parties to remain on schedule with the end of written discovery and document production set for March 30, but she acknowledged the addition of the PIF and its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, to the countersuit will slow the process.

“[Al-Rumayyan] is in it up to his eyeballs to anything LIV has done,” Labson Freeman said. “He will not be extracted from this case.”

Labson Freeman scheduled the next case management conference for April 7.

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