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USFL Awarded Only $3 in Antitrust Decision : Jury Finds NFL Guilty on One of Nine Counts

July 30, 1986|RICHARD HOFFER | Times Staff Writer

Said Lilienfield: "There was no interfering with contracts."

Summed up Rothman, rephrasing the entire NFL defense: "What the jurors said is that the NFL monopolizes football, not TV."

The NFL, though besmirched by the testimony and somewhat by the verdict, nevertheless was jubilant. Had the USFL won a large settlement and injunction, each club except the Raiders, the only one of 28 NFL teams not named in the suit, could have been assessed damages of $55 million and might have been ordered to drop one of its three network contracts.

Instead the verdict, which was read in confusion by McCabe, as she answered 26 questions from the verdict sheet, produced more legal confusion and little USFL satisfaction.

Said Myerson: "I feel great satisfaction and vindication, especially as our case supposedly had no merit. But it was important to ensure this behavior wouldn't be tolerated. We're delighted we were able to bring to attention their monopolistic intent, on each and every charge. Unfortunately, the jury is also saying they will allow them to go ahead and do it."

Meanwhile, as the parties disappeared into subways and limousines in front of the old courthouse, Sanchez was standing alone, trying to figure out what had happened.

She talked of the moral victory she believed the jury had awarded the USFL and how the $1 award was the jury's idea of a compromise. Told that she had misunderstood the idea of awarding damages, she appeared momentarily stricken but then said, no matter, had she not agreed upon that there would surely have been a hung jury, so steadfast were the two sides.

The USFL, based on that information, promised to mount another charge but, in all likelihood, the league disappeared into the subways and limousines as well, just $3 richer.

THE JURORS

--Margaret Lilienfield, Schenorock, N.Y., English- born, retired administrator for a NATO liaison group. College graduate, originally chosen as an alternate but replaced Wendell James, a Mount Vernon, N.Y., postal clerk, early in the trial.

--Patricia McCabe, Hawthorne, N.Y., reference clerk for AT&T.

--Miriam Sanchez, Yonkers, N.Y., Panamanian-born, high school English teacher.

--Patricia Silbia, Mount Vernon, N.Y., computer technician, college graduate.

--Berenz Stephens, New York, West Indies-born, nurse's assistant, college graduate.

--Stephen Ziegler, New York, radio newsroom clerk, college graduate.

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