EA has lost another bid to dismiss a lawsuit claiming it conspired with the NCAA to deny royalties to players.
Reuters reports district judge Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland, California ruled the plaintiffs could bring antritust claims against EA.
EA had argued that its licensing agreements, along with the NCAA’s rules about student earnings, were fair, and not evidence of its intent “to price-fix, boycott, or otherwise refuse to deal” with ex-athletes.
The judge disagreed, saying the agreements “can fairly be read to evidence a ‘meeting of the minds’ between EA and the other defendants not to compensate former student-athletes, where such a contract would interfere with the student-athletes’ existing agreements with the NCAA”.
This is at least the second occasion on which EA has requested and failed to achieve a dismissal of some aspect of the suit, which attacks EA Sports’ habit of using in-game characters with marked resemblance to real world NCAA athletes.
If the players are successful in their suit, EA could pay out damages of up to $1 billion.
The class-action suit seems to be growing legs, while an individual claim was overruled under the First Amendment.