DiCello Levitt successfully represents plaintiffs in long-running litigation over Varsity’s monopolization of competitive cheer industry
NEW YORK, March 30, 2023 — All Star Cheerleading company Varsity Brands has agreed to pay $43.5 million to settle a long-running antitrust class action over its monopolization of the All Star Cheerleading industry. The litigation, brought by All Star gyms and All Star event spectators, accused Varsity of colluding with cheerleading governing body USASF, which it founded in 2003, to monopolize the market for All Star Cheer Events. Plaintiffs accused Varsity of systematically acquiring rival event companies, imposing exclusionary contracts and anticompetitive loyalty programs on All Star gyms, and using USASF to control bids to the sport’s key national championship. The case is Fusion Elite All Stars, et.al. v. Varsity Brands LLC, et.al., in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.
In addition to the financial terms of the settlement, the settlement contains significant prospective relief, which unwinds some of the key conduct that the plaintiffs challenged as anticompetitive. Varsity and USASF agreed to several conditions intended to curtail Varsity’s improper influence over the sport’s governing body, including stipulations that current Varsity board members will no longer be able to simultaneously serve on USASF’s board and that Varsity may not pay for the salaries or benefits of USASF employees and executives. In addition, no single cheerleading event producer, including Varsity, will be able to occupy more than one-third of the voting seats on USASF’s board nor comprise more than 40% of USASF’s sanctioning committee, and Varsity may not require attendance at more than three All Star events during a single regular season as a condition of receiving Varsity’s lowest tier of rebates or discounts. These changes have the potential to facilitate vigorous competition in the All Star Cheer events market.
DiCello Levitt, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the case, filed a motion for preliminary settlement approval on March 24, also requesting that it, along with co-counsel Berger Montague PC and Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca LLP, be appointed as settlement class counsel.
“Our team has spent two-and-a-half years of hard-fought litigation, including defeating a motion to dismiss, taking and defending dozens of fact witness depositions and multiple expert witness depositions, and participating in multiple mediations to get to this point, and I am extremely proud of the results we have achieved to date on our plaintiffs’ behalf,” said Karin Garvey , co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel in the case and a partner in the Antitrust and Competition Litigation Practice at DiCello Levitt. “Our focus now turns to diligently working through the settlement approval process so that we can ensure our plaintiffs are properly compensated for their losses.”
Last year, DiCello Levitt announced a dramatic expansion of its national plaintiffs’ antitrust and competition practice with the addition of six New York-based litigators, including Asciolla, Garvey, and Bosco. The move immediately positioned DiCello Levitt among the nation’s premier antitrust and competition litigation practice groups.
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