June 21, 2021 – In a ground-breaking, unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court affirmed Northern District of California Judge Claudia Wilken’s determination following a bench trial that NCAA limits on education-related benefits were unreasonable restraints of trade under antitrust law and that enjoining those limits was warranted. The ruling is a victory for student-athletes, including Pritzker Levine client and class representative, Justine Hartman. Ms. Hartman played NCAA Division 1 basketball at the University of California-Berkeley.
The Supreme Court rejected the NCAA’s theory that “amateurism” is a complete defense to compliance with antitrust laws. Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, writing in a concurring opinion, stated that the NCAA is “not above the law.”
The Court praised Judge Wilken’s decision as “stand[ing] on firm ground — an exhaustive factual record, a thoughtful legal analysis consistent with established antitrust principles, and a healthy dose of judicial humility.” The Ninth Circuit also affirmed the lower court’s decision in full in 2020.
Pritzker Levine served as Additional Class Counsel in the case, and as counsel for Justine Hartman as well as Afure Jemerigbe, two former University of California at Berkeley women’s basketball players who served as class representatives in the case.
In late 2017, Judge Wilken granted final approval of a $228 million settlement on behalf tens of thousands of NCAA Division 1 college football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball athletes impacted by a prior NCAA cap on grant-in-aid scholarships.
About Pritzker Levine
Pritzker Levine LLP is national litigation firm with offices in California and New York. The firm serves corporate clients, public entities, pension funds, small businesses, nonprofit groups, labor unions, whistleblowers and injured persons in cases involving antitrust violations, securities fraud and derivative claims, commercial disputes, consumer protection, financial wrongdoing, employment law and personal injuries.