Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said Tuesday that the city plans to file a federal breach of contract suit against the Raiders football team, the National Football League and all of the NFL's other 31 teams over the Raiders' plans to move to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.
Parker said in a statement that she recommended and the Oakland City Council authorized filing the lawsuit to recover damages resulting from the Raiders' move to Las Vegas, which she said is "illegal."
She said the suit will seek to recover lost revenue, which is money that Oakland taxpayers invested in the Raiders and other costs.
Parker said the suit will allege that in voting to approve the Raiders' move to Las Vegas and boycotting Oakland in the marketplace for hosting a football club, the NFL and the 31 other teams violated federal antitrust laws.
She said the suit also will claim the Raiders' move violated the NFL's own policies for team relocation.
The city will seek a resolution for the maximum amount of damages available but the lawsuit will not ask the court to prevent the Raiders' move to Las Vegas or keep the team in Oakland, Parker said.
"The defendants brazenly violated federal antitrust law and the league's own policies when they boycotted Oakland as a host city," Parker said in her statement.
"The Raiders' illegal move lines the pockets of NFL owners and sticks Oakland, its residents, taxpayers and dedicated fans with the bill," she said. "The purpose of this lawsuit is to hold the defendants accountable and help to compensate Oakland for the damages the defendants' unlawful actions have caused and will cause to the people of Oakland."
Parker alleged that the NFL's demand for the public to bankroll new stadiums under threat of club relocation has pushed cities like Oakland out of the marketplace for professional football teams, caused skyrocketing ticket prices, and enriched the NFL owners.
She charged that the NFL is violating antitrust laws by using its cartel status to undermine competition and generate fortunes for themselves, all at a significant cost to taxpayers.
Parker said she will file the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, with the assistance of the law firms of Berg & Androphy, and Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, which she said are nationally recognized antitrust lawyers.
She said the firms are working on a contingency basis, so their fees and costs will be paid solely from any recovery the city gets.
Jim Quinn, the lead attorney from Berg & Androphy, said, "The NFL has a long history of misusing its tremendous market power in violation of
antitrust laws. This time the NFL defendants violated their own bylaws in their effort to cash in on the Raiders' move."
Quinn said, "Oakland is standing up to this unlawful and disloyal treatment by the league owners."