The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Roberto Hylton, 

Just Win Baby: Omi Amicus Brief Filed in City of Oakland v. Raiders

Open Markets Institute urges Supreme Court to restore broad private right of action Congress outlined in statute.


The Open Markets Institute today filed an amicus brief in City of Oakland v. Oakland Raiders. The City of Oakland filed an antitrust suit against the Raiders and the NFL for relocating the team to Las Vegas and preventing Oakland from hosting another NFL team. Although the City suffered substantial economic harm and lost the team beloved to residents (a fan base famously known as "Raider Nation"), the Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of the City's case on the grounds it did not show antitrust standing.

In supporting the City's cert petition, Open Markets called on the Supreme Court to hear the case and to restore the broad private right of action Congress clearly established in the plain language of the Clayton Act. The following quote can be attributed to Sandeep Vaheesan, Legal Director of OMI:

"Congress, in Section 4 of the Clayton Act, created a powerful private right of action--treble damages and attorneys' fees--and made it available to "any person" injured in their business or property by an antitrust violation. And the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that Congress aimed to create a potent private remedy that was broadly available to the public and, "contains little in the way of restrictive language."

"Despite the clear and broad statutory language, the lower courts have narrowed the plain text of the law and held that antitrust plaintiffs need to satisfy a multi-factor balancing test to show standing. This current judicial interpretation of the Clayton Act effectively rewrites the text of the law. The courts, through the doctrine of "prudential" standing, have usurped the legislative authority of Congress and restricted a cause of action that Congress granted to consumers, competitors, suppliers, and workers injured by antitrust violations.

"In our brief, we urged the Court to take this case and apply the same two-part test for antitrust standing that Justice Scalia outlined in his unanimous opinion in Lexmark v. Static Control Components. In that 2014 case, the Supreme Court rejected multi-factor standing tests for Lanham Act (false advertising) claims and held that courts cannot restrict statutory causes of action on "prudence" grounds. Instead, the Court held that parties that show they fall within the statutory zone of interests and sustained injuries proximately caused by the defendant's violation have the right to bring Lanham Act suits.

"There has been a decades-long effort to undermine private antitrust enforcement, with the lower courts effectively rewriting laws passed by the people's representatives and protecting powerful corporations from accountability. It is time for the Supreme Court to restore the plain meaning that Congress intended when it wrote the private right of action in the Clayton Act."

The Open Markets Institute works to address threats to our democracy, individual liberties, and our national security from today's unprecedented levels of corporate concentration and monopoly power. By combining policy, legal, and market structure expertise with sophisticated communications and outreach efforts, Open Markets seeks not only to hold today's monopolies accountable for abuse of power, but to rebuild an economic system where progress is easier to achieve, because power is far more widely and equitably distributed