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Thursday, March 19, 2015, 9:28 AM

March (Appellate) Madness

Authored by: Amanda Norris Ames
It has been a few months since we updated on the O’Bannon antitrust case, where federal judge Claudia Wilken ruled last summer that the NCAA’s amateurism rules violated federal antitrust laws.  (You can read our previous articles here, here, here, and here.)  But this week, as the rest of the country filled out their brackets and geared up for the start of the NCAA tournament, the NCAA was getting ready for another battle – in the Ninth Circuit.  On Tuesday, the appeals court heard oral argument from both the NCAA and plaintiffs’ counsel, as the parties debated the lower court’s decision, which allowed limited compensation for the use of athletes’ name, image, and likenesses.  
Central to the parties’ argument was the interpretation of NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, a 1984 case regarding football television rights.  While the NCAA lost that case, one statement in that case has become central to the NCAA’s current “amateurism” defense:  “To preserve the character and quality of the ‘product,’ athletes must not be paid.”  In Tuesday's arguments, some of the judges seemed skeptical of the NCAA’s shifting definition of “pay,” they were also concerned about opening the door to “pay for play.”  (The full arguments can be watched here.)
We can expect a ruling in the upcoming months, though this is unlikely to be the final appeal in the case. 

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Monday, March 16, 2015, 2:58 PM

Jason Hicks, Amanda Norris Ames to Discuss Antitrust Risks in E-Commerce Pricing and Distribution

Authored by: Jason Hicks
With online sales now commonplace, counsel for retailers, distributors and manufacturers must be aware of the increased state and federal scrutiny of e-commerce pricing and distribution practices and take steps to ensure their clients are in compliance with all relevant antitrust laws.
Womble Carlyle attorneys Jason Hicks and Amanda Norris Ames will participate in a Webinar discussion on Antitrust Risks in E-Commerce Pricing and Distribution. The event takes place from 1-2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th.
The panel will review these and other key questions:
  • What are the challenges for online sellers in distinguishing between advertised prices and selling prices?
  • What is the e-commerce impact of the different state law approaches to the issue of whether minimum RPMs are illegal per se?
  • What steps can companies take to minimize antitrust exposure stemming from Internet distribution?
Jason Hicks, a partner in Womble Carlyle’s DC office, has experience litigating cases and counseling clients in a wide variety of matters involving contract disputes, business torts, federal and state antitrust laws, franchise laws, and unfair and deceptive trade practices.  In that regard, Hicks has represented clients in the manufacturing, defense, pharmaceutical, real estate and gaming industries.
Amanda Norris Ames focuses her practice on white collar criminal defense, antitrust law, complex civil litigation, and government investigations. Her experience includes litigating complex tax, bankruptcy, commercial and criminal matters at the federal level. Prior to entering private practice, Ames worked as a trial attorney in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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