Sergio Miranda; Jeffrey Dominguez; Jorge Padilla; and Cirilo Cruz, Individually and on Behalf of All Those Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
Allan Huber Selig, Bud; Kansas City Royals Baseball Corp.; Miami Marlins, L.P.; San Francisco Baseball Associates, LLC; Boston Red Sox Baseball Club L.P.; Angels Baseball L.P.; Chicago White Sox LTD.; St. Louis Cardinals, LLC; Colorado Rockies Baseball Club, Ltd.; Baseball Club of Seattle, LLP; Cincinnati Reds, LLC; Houston Baseball Partners, LLC; Athletics Investment Group, LLC; Rogers Blue Jays Baseball Partnership; Cleveland Indians Baseball Co., L.P.; Cleveland Indians Baseball Co., Inc.; Padres L.P.; San Diego Padres Baseball Club, L.P.; Minnesota Twins, LLC; Washington Nationals Baseball Club, LLC; Detroit Tigers, Inc.; Los Angeles Dodgers Holding Co.; Sterling Mets L.P.; Atlanta National League Baseball Club, Inc.; AZPB L.P.; Baltimore Orioles, Inc.; Baltimore Orioles, L.P.; Phillies L.P.; Pittsburgh Baseball, Inc.; Pittsburgh Baseball P'Ship; New York Yankees P'Ship; Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Ltd.; Rangers Baseball Express, LLC; Rangers Baseball, LLC; Chicago Baseball Holdings, LLC; Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, Inc.; Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, L.P.; Office Of Commissioner Of Baseball, Dba Major League Baseball; Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC, Defendants-Appellees.
and Submitted April 18, 2017 San Francisco, California
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., District
Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 3:14-cv-05349-HSG
Kornhauser (argued) and David Truong, Law Offices of Samuel
Kornhauser, San Francisco, California; Brian David, Law
Offices of Brian David, Chicago, Illinois; for
W. Keker (argued), David J. Rosen, Thomas E. Gorman, and R.
Adam Lauridsen, Keker & Van Nest LLP, San Francisco,
California, for Defendants-Appellees.
Before: Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge, and Ferdinand F.
Fernandez and Mary H. Murguia, Circuit Judges.
the district court's dismissal of an antitrust suit
brought by minor league baseball players, the panel held that
professional minor league baseball is exempt from federal
panel concluded that because it was bound by Supreme Court
and Ninth Circuit precedent upholding the business of
baseball's exemption from federal antitrust laws, and
because Congress explicitly exempted minor league baseball in
the Curt Flood Act of 1998, the players failed to state an
THOMAS, Chief Judge
case we consider whether professional minor league baseball
is exempt from federal antitrust law. Applying controlling
precedent, we hold that it is, and we affirm the judgment of
the district court.
League Baseball ("MLB") is an unincorporated
association consisting of thirty MLB franchises, also known
as clubs or teams. Each franchise employs approximately forty
baseball players on its "40-man roster, " with up
to twenty-five players on its "active roster, " who
play at the major league level. As part of MLB's
"farm system, " each franchise also employs 150 to
250 players who compete at the minor league level. MLB
franchises employ a high number of minor league players
hoping that a handful will develop into major league players.
Therefore, though minor league players train and play for
minor league clubs, they are nonetheless employed by an MLB
requires all franchises to use its Uniform Player Contract
("the Contract") when hiring minor league players.
Any change to the Contract terms requires permission from the
MLB Commissioner. Once completed, all Contracts are filed
with the MLB Commissioner for approval. Under the
Contract's so-called "reserve clause, " MLB
franchises receive exclusive rights to their minor league
players for seven championship seasons, approximately seven
years. This provision precludes players from playing for any
other baseball team during the contract period, whether or
not the team is an MLB ...