New York files motion to dismiss Zuffa’s case

October 31, 2012

New York has filed a Motion to Dismiss Zuffa’s Amended Complaint this past Friday in an effort to do away with all of Zuffa’s claims.  Zuffa will have until November 30th to file a responsive brief opposing the motion.

Since we last reported on this litigation, the Court granted the defendants (New York Attorney General and District Attorney at the time) motion to dismiss the Equal Protection and Due Process claims.

Zuffa amended its Complaint against New York in the continued battle over the legalization of MMA in the Empire State.  Zuffa dismissed its claims against the District Attorney leaving the NY Attorney General as the sole defendant in the lawsuit. The parties agreed to its Stipulation and Order of Dismissal on August 31, 2012.

A Court order filed September 12, 2012, granted Zuffa the opportunity to file an amended complaint.  It also granted defendant a second motion to dismiss on or before October 22, 2012 with Zuffa’s responsive papers on November 19, 2012.  The dates were changed slightly by the parties as it turned out that the papers were filed on October 26th and Zuffa’s response would be due on November 30th to allow for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Despite the dismissal of two counts and one defendant, the Zuffa Complaint is now 160 pages versus 102 pages in the original Complaint.  While the Court dismissed Zuffa’s Equal Protection and Due Process claims, it included the claims with different theories in its Amended Complaint.

Zuffa argues that the renewal of the claims are based upon the shifting nature of the defendants in response to the Original Complaint.

Payout Perspective:

Apologies on the late reporting of these events as most occurred in September with the exception of the latest Motion to Dismiss.  With its latest bite at the apple, New York is seeking to dismiss all of Zuffa’s claims.  Zuffa’s Amended Complaint included the claims that were previously dismissed but provided a differing theory on the claims.  We will see how the Court treats this as defendants have pointed out this issue in its briefing.

Notably, New York argues that the First Amendment does not apply to sports.  This is pegged directly at Zuffa’s novel First Amendment claim against the state in which it argues that MMA is a public form of expression.  New York cites several cases where courts have held that sport is not protected under First Amendment protection.  Moreover, it argues that the recent Supreme Court case of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association was misapplied by Zuffa.  In Brown, the Court struck down a California law barring the sale of violent video games to children.  The Supreme Court held that video games were protected under Free Speech.  Zuffa argued that under Brown, New York could not ban MMA to shield children from watching it.  However, New York argues that the First Amendment protects the depiction of violence but not actual violence.

MMA Payout will take a deeper look in New York’s attempt to dismiss Zuffa’s case in the coming days.

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