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Loeb & Loeb Secures Class Action Defense Victory for the National Collegiate Athletic Association

Loeb & Loeb LLP announced a class action defense victory on behalf of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), in which, in a rare grant of en banc review, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated its July 2010 decision which had permitted a putative class-action lawsuit to proceed against the Indiana-based NCAA. In that lawsuit, several plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and a putative class of ticket applicants, allege that the ticket distribution system formerly used by the NCAA constitutes an illegal lottery.

At the district court level, Loeb's team obtained a dismissal with prejudice of the entire case. Loeb argued that the NCAA's system was not an illegal lottery and that the plaintiffs each knowingly and willingly participated in the process, thus depriving them of the right to pursue an action against the NCAA. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit panel initially concluded in a 2-1 ruling that the system the plaintiffs described in their complaint may constitute an illegal lottery and that the plaintiffs were not prohibited from pursuing their claims based on their knowing participation in the ticket process. Responding to the NCAA's petition for en banc review and citing the "far-reaching effects" its decision could have on "sports-ticket-distribution systems used by the NCAA and others," the Seventh Circuit vacated the earlier panel ruling and certified several key questions raised by the lawsuit to the Indiana Supreme Court for resolution, including the core question of whether the former ticket process in fact constitutes a lottery.

The Loeb & Loeb attorneys handling this matter for the NCAA include Benjamin King.