The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN
This action involves a dispute over rights to televise the 1984 Florida Citrus Bowl (formerly the Tangerine Bowl), a college football game to be played on December 22 of this year. Plaintiff Mizlou Television Network, Inc. ("Mizlou") raises various federal antitrust and pendent state law claims in connection with the decision of defendant Florida Citrus Sports Association to grant the broadcast rights for this year's Citrus Bowl to defendant National Broadcasting Company. For the reasons that follow, all of plaintiff's claims against each defendant must be dismissed.
Plaintiff filed this action on May 23, 1984, alleging a "contract, combination and conspiracy in restraint of trade" in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 (Complaint para. 7), an attempt to monopolize and a conspiracy to monopolize (Complaint para. 8) and perhaps monopolization (Complaint para. 14), all in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2, a contract "to substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly" in violation of Section 3 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 14, and breach of contract and tortious interference with contract (Complaint paras. 13, 14). Named as defendants to the complaint are:
(1) National Broadcasting Company ("NBC").
(2) Arthur Watson, President, NBC Sports.
(3) Jeffrey Cokin, Director of Sports Contract Negotiations, NBC Sports.
(4) Florida Citrus Sports Association, Inc. ("FCSA").
(5) Sam Hines, member of the FCSA Executive Committee.
(6) Charles Rohe, member of the FCSA Executive Committee.
(7) Vernon Hinely, member of the FCSA Executive Committee.
(8) Florida Citrus Commission.
On July 9, 1984, the NBC defendants (NBC, Watson and Cokin), the FCSA defendants (FCSA, Hines, Rohe and Hinely) and the Florida Citrus Commission filed separate motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b). Three weeks after those motions ripened, plaintiff filed its October 1, 1984 "motion for declaratory relief" seeking an expedited hearing and resolution of "the issue of rights to televising the bowl game." Plaintiff's Motion at 3. At the oral hearing on all motions held November 2, 1984, plaintiff confirmed that it seeks immediate consideration of its pendent state law claims, but acknowledged that it did not expect the antitrust claims to be decided on the merits before the December 22 Citrus Bowl game.
Plaintiff's sudden demand for expedition is somewhat puzzling. Mizlou's chief executive learned of the FCSA's agreement with NBC in August 1983 at the latest, yet devoted fully eight months to "soulsearching" before deciding to bring this action.
Once in court, plaintiff stipulated to extensions of filing deadlines requested by defendants and sought an extension of its own. Furthermore, plaintiff's complaint on its face seeks monetary relief only -- there is no request in that pleading that the Court enjoin any conduct by any defendant before any fixed date.
More fundamentally, even if plaintiff's subsequent pleadings are viewed as amending the complaint to state a claim for injunctive relief, the merits of plaintiff's state law claims cannot be considered without first addressing issues raised by defendants in their motions to dismiss. Defendants assert, among other things, that defendant Florida Citrus Commission is immune from suit in this Court, that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over six of the eight defendants, and that plaintiff's allegations fail to state an actionable claim under applicable state law or the federal antitrust statutes, the foundation of this Court's pendent jurisdiction over plaintiff's state law claims. Until those issues are resolved, consideration of the merits of the pendent claims would be premature. See Financial General ...