Texas Collegiate Baseball League Wins $2.9 Million Judgment in Antitrust Trial

By: Robert Tharp/Androvett Legal Media
By: Robert Tharp/Androvett Legal Media

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A Tarrant County judge has issued a judgment of $2.9 million against a team owner in the Texas Collegiate Baseball League for taking part in an unlawful league boycott that violated antitrust laws and caused the league to fold.

After a weeklong trial, jurors found that Fred “Britt” Britton of Colleyville participated in the 2007 boycott with several other team owners. The TCBL reached out-of-court settlements with the other owners prior to the trial. The TCBL ceased operations in 2007, and included the Brazos Valley Bombers.

In the May 2 verdict issued in Judge Donald Cosby’s 67th District Court, jurors awarded more than $850,000, plus attorneys’ fees, to the TCBL. The jury also found that Mr. Britton’s conduct in the group boycott was flagrant, causing the amount of damages to be tripled, bringing the total damage award to $2.9 million in a final judgment issued on June 6.

“Although we are extremely disappointed with the loss of the collegiate summer baseball league in the communities it benefited, we believe in the fairness of the jury system and greatly appreciate the work the jury did in reaching this fair verdict in the end,” says Gerald Haddock, president of The Haddock Foundation, the majority owner of the TCBL, a nonprofit established in 2003 to advance amateur sports.

“Moreover, we are particularly grateful for the dedication and highest professional performance by our legal team which contributed significantly to this victory. The Haddock Foundation continues to look forward to supporting amateur athletics and its program for kids’ camps with certain baseball teams in the State of Texas,” says Mr. Haddock, a prominent attorney, businessman and Fort Worth resident.

More than 150 TCBL players were drafted by Major League Baseball teams during the league’s operations from 2004-2007, including future MLB All-Stars Hunter Pence of the San Francisco Giants, Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, and Clay Buchholz, who tossed a no-hitter in just his second major league start for the Boston Red Sox in 2007.

“We could not be more pleased with the jury’s verdict,” says attorney Tim Cleveland of the Austin-based law firm Weisbart Springer Hayes, who represented the TCBL at trial with firm co-founder Geoffrey D. Weisbart. “The jury paid close attention to the evidence and agreed that the group boycott was illegal, flagrant and caused serious damages by destroying the league.”

Weisbart Springer Hayes LLP focuses on high-stakes business, technology, employment, and aviation litigation matters in Texas and across the nation. Based on a philosophy of personal service and a practice of efficient management, the firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of complex legal disputes. More information is available on the firm’s website at www.wshllp.com.

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