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Jim Wilson v. National Wrestling Alliance
(CIVIL ACTION No. C79-1310A)
Jim Wilson brings forward an antitrust case against the NWA. The NWA tries to get a summary judgement ...
JAMES M. WILSON, Plaintiff, vs. NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE, PAUL JONES, TOM RENESTO, JAMES BARNETT, FRED WARD, EDDIE GRAHAM, a/k/a EDWARD GOSSIT, GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING INC., f/k/a MIDSOUTH SPORTS, INC., f/k/a ABC BOOKING, INC., Defendants.
CIVIL ACTION No. C79-1310A
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA ATLANTA DIVISION
December 16, 1980
Frank J. Klosik, Jr.; Michael L. Wetzel, GREER, KLOSIK and DAUGHERTY, 4651-A Roswell Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30342, for plaintiff.
Jeffrey R. Nickerson and Frederick E. Link, TROUTMAN, SANDERS, LOCKERMAN & ASHMORE, 1400 Candler Building, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, for defendant.
OPINION BY: HALL
This is a wrestling antitrust case brought by plaintiff James Wilson, who has in the past functioned as a wrestling promoter, booker of matches, and wrestler. His claim in three counts was brought against numerous defendants, chief among which is the National Wrestling Alliance (hereinafter, "NWA"). In summary, Wilson's claim is that the NWA monopolizes wrestling; was organized to protect its members against competition; divides and allocates wrestling territories among its members; and stifles competition by various actions including concerted refusals to deal and exclusive leases on wrestling facilities.
The first count of the complaint is brought under the Clayton Act and Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, and asserts these anticompetitive actions by defendants in paragraph 10: that they "(a) Concertedly refused to deal with the Plaintiff and refused to permit Plaintiff to participate in exhibitions sanctioned by the NWA; (b) Wilfully and maliciously entered into a scheme to deprive Plaintiff of his livelihood as a professional wrestler by utilizing their superior economic position to destroy the effectiveness of Plaintiff's international league limited as a competitor, thereby precluding Plaintiff from competing with the Defendants as a promoter of professional wrestling exhibitions; (c) Agreed to circulate, and actually circulated Plaintiff's name to other co-conspirators with the intent and effect of inducing and coercing them to refuse to prevent [sic] Plaintiff to participate in wrestling exhibitions staged, booked or promoted by them." Count 2 asserted criminal conspiracy in illegal restraint of trade in violation of Georgia law; and the final count asserted breach of promise and fraud in defendants' earlier actions inducing plaintiff to dismiss an earlier suit by false promises that the conspiracy against him would be terminated if he did so.
In the instant motion, defendants seek primarily summary judgment on the Sherman Act claims (15 U.S.C. §§ 1, 2). After carefully considering the motion, the opposition thereto, and defendants' further brief in support, as well as the record, including the three depositions on file, and appropriate cases, the court concludes that plainly the motion must be DENIED. See, e.g., Marquis v. Chrysler Corp., 577 F.d 624, 641 (9th Cir. 1978); The Cromar Co. v. Nuclear Materials and Equip. Corp., 543 F.2d 501 (3rd Cir. 1976).
It is basic in antitrust law that "the essential combination or conspiracy in violation of the Sherman Act may be found in a course of dealing or other circumstances as well as in an exchange of words." American Tobacco Co. v. United States, 328 U.S. 781, 809-810 (1946). Moreover, "Intent to monopolize need not be proven by direct evidence". Buffalo Courier-Express, Inc. v. Buffalo Evening News, Inc., 441 F.Supp. 628, 641 (N.D.N.Y. 1977), vac. on oth. gr. 601 F.2d 48 (2d Cir. 1979).
In light of the fact that the motion must be denied, the court will not comment at length on the state of the record, except to say that considering the contents of the record on the issues in question, a summary judgment motion can enjoy no reasonable hope of success. Particularly disingenuous is defendants' argument that plainiff lacks standing to bring this suit. In a case in which plaintiff claims that defendants' antitrust violations have foreclosed him from wrestling since 1976, surely defendants cannot hope to prevail on a claim that plaintiff lacks standing because he has not wrestled since 1976. See generally, The Cromar Co., supra 543 F.d at 506-509.
The motion is DENIED.
So ORDERED this 16th day of December, 1980.
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