NEW YORK — The National Football League was found liable late today for two antitrust violations but ordered to pay only $1 in damages to the rival United States Football League. The USFL had sought $1.69 billion in its struggle to stay in business.
The verdict, delivered after 31 hours of deliberation over four days, found the NFL used its monopoly power to damage the USFL and to gain control of the pro football market.
In each count, however, the NFL was cleared of monopolizing television, the key accusation in the case.
NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was found not liable.
The five women and one man announced the result of their deliberations in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The jury was considering six federal antitrust claims and three common law charges against the NFL. If the jurors had found against the NFL on any of the six antitrust claims, the USFL had asked for damages that could amount to nearly $1.7 billion.
60 Questions Asked
The jurors sent only one message to U.S. District Judge Peter K. Leisure on Monday, but it indicated they hadn't progressed past the first two of 60 questions Leisure ordered them to answer before reaching a verdict. The jury asked Leisure to clarify his instructions about determining the relevant markets and sub-markets for professional football.