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NBA players consolidate antitrust lawsuits

The amended case against the league is filed in federal court in Minneapolis, and NBA criticizes move. Players' attorney says the sides have not spoken since last week.

November 21, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, president of the NBA players' union, speaks during a news conference in June. Representatives for the players and owners have not met since last week.
Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, president of the NBA players' union,… (Bebeto Matthews / Associated…)

NBA players filed an amended antitrust case against the league Monday in federal court in Minneapolis, a legal step to consolidate a pair of antitrust suits they filed a week ago.

Lawyers for NBA owners and players have not spoken since last week, players' attorney David Boies said Monday at a news conference in New York.

"If the league's approach is to ignore the litigation ... and hope it goes away.... I don't think that's in our interest and it's certainly not in their interest or the fans' interest," Boies said.

Last week NBA players essentially dissolved their union to clear the way for antitrust suits to be filed after labor talks collapsed.

A group of players, including All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, filed an antitrust lawsuit in Northern California against the NBA while another group of players, led by Caron Butler, filed a similar lawsuit in Minnesota.

"They were basically the same substantive complaint," Boies said, adding that filing only one lawsuit "should permit us to expedite the case."

Lawyers for the players consolidated the litigation Monday by refiling one comprehensive lawsuit in Minnesota, claiming the NBA had conspired against players by locking them out July 1.

In a statement, the NBA criticized Boies' actions.

"We assume that Mr. Boies was not happy with either the reassignment of the case from Oakland to San Francisco or the fact that the new judge scheduled the first conference for March 2012," said NBA attorney Rick Buchanan. "This is consistent with Mr. Boies' inappropriate shopping for a forum that he can only hope will be friendlier to his baseless legal claims."

Boies said he hoped to hear from the NBA's attorneys in early December.

The NBA has canceled games through Dec. 15. More cancellations are expected next week if the parties do not reach agreement to end the 144-day lockout.

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