Attorneys representing PGA Tour will ask a federal judge for permission to push back the discovery deadline to set the beginning of an antitrust suit involving LIV Golf. LIV Golf claims that the PGA Tour uses its monopoly powers against competition and discourages vendors, media partners, etc. from working with LIV Golf.
Lawyers for LIV Golf and the PGA Tour filed a joint motion to the court on Sunday asking U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman for a case management conference to postpone the current trial date of January 2024, and to extend the discovery timeline.
The attorneys for the PGA Tour wrote that there were at least four reasons why these adjustments were necessary to avoid serious prejudice to Tours ability defend against LIV claims and prosecute its tortious interference Counterclaims.
According to the PGA Tour attorneys, they include:
• Saudi Arabias Public Investment Fund and the funds governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, continue to resist compliance with the Tours subpoenas for documents and testimony, a dispute that remains unresolved and which will likely lead to an appeal.
PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayyan took extraordinary steps to avoid producing a single record or giving sworn testimony, PGA Tour lawyers wrote. To date, neither Mr. Al-Rumayyan.
• The PGA Tour is seeking to amend its counterclaim to add PIF and Al-Rumayyan as defendants in its countersuit against LIV Golf because recently produced documents show that they played a central role in tortiously interfering with the Tours contracts.
• The PGA Tours attorneys also argued that LIV, the current and former player plaintiffs, and several third parties have failed to produce key documents and, in some cases, have failed to produce documents at all.
[T]The nature of the case has changed significantly since the Court set January 2024 trial. It was once a case about golfers, but now it is about two competing golf leagues. This substantially undermines Plaintiffs stated basis to an expedited case schedule, the PGA Tour attorneys wrote in their motion.
The deadline for document discovery is March 30, 20,23. The fact discovery deadline, May 26, 2023.
The current trial date, discovery schedule, and trial date are unworkable due to these issues, PGA Tour attorneys wrote. Given the current status of discovery (or lack thereof), from PIF and Mr. Al-Rumayyan in specific, it is not realistic to expect the parties to meet the current deadlines. PIF and Al-Rumayyan already indicated that they would not comply with any Court order forcing them to provide discovery. Instead, they have indicated that their meritless defenses will be pursued through lengthy appeals. PIF and Al-Rumayyan could be delayed for several months, if not longer, before they produce discovery or face the consequences.
There are many LIV Golf players, such as Phil MickelsonAnd Bryson deChambeauOn Aug. 3,,, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour. Mickelson and other plaintiffs were later removed by LIV Golf, DeChambeau. Matt JonesAnd Peter UihleinThese are the remaining plaintiffs.
LIV Golf also allegedly interfered with the PGA Tours agreements with players, according to a countersuit.
LIV Golfs lawyers opposed the delay of discovery and trial dates in the joint motion. The lawyers argued the current trial schedule was not only practical, but essential to the careers of both the Player Plaintiffs as well as the viability and legitimacy of LIV as an actual competitor to the Tour.
LIV Golfs attorneys stated in the motion that With the ink barely drying on the Tours previous schedule extension request, the Tour returns with another effort to blow it up. And move the trial day set by this Court. Its strategy was clear from the beginning: put up every roadblock to timely resolution; pursue discovery without bounds; and seek all means to postpone facing trial for Plaintiffs claims. LIV and Player Plaintiffs continue to be harmed by the Tour. The Tour has made it clear its intent to continue its destructive conduct until it is enjoined.
LIV Golfs lawyers argued LIV Golfs goal was clear. It seeks delays in a merits adjudication so long as possible in hopes that it can drive LIV from the market and thereby avoid scrutiny regarding its illegal conduct.
LIV Golfs lawyers pointed out that LIV Golf players are still under suspension by PGA Tour. The new rule, which extends two year bans to non-Tour member who participate in LIV Golf tournaments, was recently implemented by the PGA Tour.
Under Tours new regulations any non-member — like a college player or foreign player – who participates at LIV events in 2023 LIV Golfs lawyers wrote. The Tour has now entered into unconstitutional parallel agreements with several other tour around the world to exclude the LIV. The Tour exploits litigation delay to cut off air to LIV players and players.