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Rock v. National Collegiate Athletic Association

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

September 23, 2014

JOHN ROCK, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

JANE MAGNUS, District Judge.

Presently pending before the Court is Plaintiff John Rock's Motion to Consolidate Cases. [Filing No. 90.] For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES Mr. Rock's motion.

A. Background

Mr. Rock filed this antitrust putative class action against Defendant National Collegiate Athletic Association (the "NCAA") on August 25, 2012. [Filing No. 1.] Through his operative complaint, Mr. Rock challenges the NCAA's rules that prohibited multi-year athletic scholarships for Division I football players and the rules that impose a cap on the number of football scholarships that a Division I football team may award. [Filing No. 46 at 3.]

On August 16, 2013, the Court issued an order denying a Motion to Dismiss filed by the NCAA. [Filing No. 58.] The parties have been engaged in discovery since that time. Mr. Rock's deadline to move for class certification is November 24, 2014, and the parties have already been advised that no further extensions will be granted. [Filing No. 86 at 2; Filing No. 88.]

On August 28, 2014, Durrell Chamorro filed an antitrust putative class action against the NCAA in this District, which was assigned to Chief Judge Richard L. Young as Cause Number 1:14-cv-1421-RLY-DML. Mr. Chamorro and Mr. Rock are represented by the same counsel. In his Complaint, Mr. Chamorro also challenges the NCAA's rules that prohibited multi-year athletic scholarships for Division I football players and the rules that impose a cap on the number of football scholarships that a Division I football team may award. [Cause Number 1:14-cv-1421-RLY-DML, Filing No. 1 at 3.]

The same day that Mr. Chamorro filed his action against the NCAA, Mr. Rock filed a Motion to Consolidate Mr. Chamorro's case with his. [Filing No. 90.] In his Motion to Consolidate, Mr. Rock argues that Chamorro contains "similar factual allegations and legal theories, [and] the putative class definitions are similar, although not identical." [Filing No. 90 at 2.] Mr. Rock proposes that "[g]iven the significant overlap of factual and legal issues between this action and the allegations brought by Plaintiff Chamorro, consolidation of the actions will provide the parties and this Court with significant savings in time, effort, and expense."[1] [Filing No. 90.]

In response, the NCAA agrees that Rock and Chamorro are based on similar allegations and legal theories. [Filing No. 92 at 2.] The NCAA represents that it has conferred with opposing counsel regarding how consolidating the cases would affect the Rock pretrial schedule and that counsel for Mr. Rock and Mr. Chamorro "do not intend to request any changes to the Rock pretrial schedule if their motion to consolidate is granted." [Filing No. 92 at 3.] That said, because the NCAA "believes that the Chamorro complaint suffers from certain legal defects not present in the Rock complaint, " the NCAA intends to file a motion to dismiss Mr. Chamorro's case. [Filing No. 92 at 3.] For that reason, the NCAA "believes it would be premature" to consolidate Chamorro and Rock before the anticipated motion to dismiss in Chamorro is resolved. [Filing No. 92 at 3-4.] The NCAA "does not oppose the Chamorro case being reassigned to Judge Magnus-Stinson." [Filing No. 92 at 2.]

In his reply, Mr. Rock confirms his belief that consolidation or transfer will not affect the Rock case schedule. [Filing No. 93 at 1.] Mr. Rock indicates that Mr. Chamorro has already produced his initial disclosures and all relevant documents in his possession, and that the parties have tentatively agreed to Mr. Chamorro's deposition occurring in late October. [Filing No. 93 at 1.]

B. Applicable Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42 provides that "[i]f actions before the court involve a common question of law or fact, " the Court may "join for hearing or trial any or all matters at issue in the actions... consolidate the actions... or issue any other orders to avoid unnecessary cost or delay." The Court has discretion regarding whether to consolidate actions involving a common question of law or fact. Star Ins. Co. v. Risk Mktg. Grp. Inc., 561 F.3d 656, 660 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a)(2)).

C. Discussion

1) Request to Consolidate Cases

While Mr. Chamorro's claims may be similar to Mr. Rock's claims, there appear to be material differences. The NCAA contends that it "believes that the Chamorro complaint suffers from certain legal defects not present in the Rock complaint." [Filing No. 92 at 2.] The NCAA does not elaborate on what it perceives those legal defects ...


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