PGA Tour, LIV Golf and Saudi’s PIF file motion Friday to dismiss lawsuits, with prejudice

PGA Tour, LIV Golf and Saudi’s PIF file motion Friday to dismiss lawsuits, with prejudice
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Ten months of the most relentless legal wrangling the game has ever seen ended Friday when the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia agreed to end all antitrust litigation.

The motion to dismiss the case follows last week’s announcement that the Tour and the PIF had reached a “framework” agreement to create a new entity and end the litigation, which had spilled over into the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and multiple U.S. District Courts. The motion was filed with prejudice, which is significant because it means neither the antitrust case nor the Tour’s countersuit can ever be reopened.

Even if the agreement between the Tour and PIF, which owns 93 percent of LIV Golf, were to fall apart, any of the disputed elements of the original antitrust or counterclaim lawsuits cannot be used as grounds for future litigation.

One element of the lawsuit that will likely endure past today’s closure is a motion filed Friday by the New York Times to unseal documents associated with the lawsuits.

The New York Times filed a motion in U.S. District Court Friday to unseal files in the antitrust and counterclaim lawsuits.

The Times argued the public’s right to this information outweighed the Tour’s and PIF’s claims that public disclosure of certain documents could cause “competitive harm,” and requested the court unseal countless documents, including the “Subscription and Shareholder Agreement” between LIV Golf and the PIF.

“As the Ninth Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals] has explained, settlement does not moot the public’s right of access,” the New York Times’ motion read.

The original antitrust lawsuit was filed in August of last year by 11 players who had been suspended by the Tour for joining LIV Golf. The Tour won an early exchange when a judge ruled in favor of the circuit after a group of suspended players had requested a temporary restraining order to participate in the circuit’s playoffs.

The players eventually withdrew from the litigation, leaving only the Tour and LIV Golf. The Tour filed a counterclaim against LIV and the PIF, claiming the fund interfered with its contracts with players. The PIF had appealed to the 9th Circuit, claiming sovereign immunity from U.S. jurisdiction. That appeal has also been dismissed.

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