New York files Reply Brief in Support of its Motion to Dismiss

December 21, 2012

A Reply Brief was filed on behalf of the state of New York last week in the ongoing litigation involving Zuffa in its eternal quest to legalize MMA in the state.  The brief supports New York’s motion to dismiss Zuffa’s lawsuit in its entirety. It is not known at this point when a decision on the motion may be made.

As you recall, New York filed its Motion to Dismiss all of Zuffa’s claims in its Amended Complaint.  Zuffa submitted its opposition brief against dismissing the case.  Among the issues being argued in the briefing is the theory that MMA is protected under the First Amendment.  Zuffa contends that MMA is expressive conduct protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as it is competed in front of an audience.

In its reply to Zuffa’s opposition brief, New York argues that MMA is “not expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.”  New York argues that it is not the audience that is important, but “the particularity and comprehensibility of the intended message.”  Essentially does the audience observing the expressive conduct understand that what it is watching is expressive conduct?  its a slippery slope of an argument as Courts have warned against a “narrow, succinctly articulable message” for First Amendment protection that may exclude certain items.  But, New York cites case law which it argues requires examining the conduct to determine whether the message has a “great likelihood” that it will be understood by those viewing it.

New York also argues in its briefing that even if MMA fighters were found to be “communicating a particularized and comprehensible message worthy of protection,” New York maintains that the State continues to have an important interest in the ban or combat sports.  It argues that this interest allows it to regulate such speech despite the possibility of it having limitation on First Amendment freedoms.

New York's Reply Brief in Support of its Motion to Dismiss

Payout Perspective:

After reading the briefing in the Motion to Dismiss, each side makes compelling arguments for its position.  We have focused mainly on the First Amendment in these posts simply because it is a unique argument by Zuffa while most of the other claims are much more technical and dry to most people not interested in Constitutional law.

There is no timetable on a decision by the Court by MMA Payout will keep you posted.

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