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The LIV Golf vs. PGA Tour antitrust case has reached an appeals roadblock that could delay proceedings


The expedited schedule LIV Golf attorneys sought for the antitrust case filed against the PGA Tour last year has reached an appeals roadblock.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Tour’s motion to dismiss an appeal filed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and its governor on Friday, likely setting the stage for a lengthy process that could delay the original antitrust.

The Tour has sought discovery from the PIF and its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, claiming the fund is more than simply an investor in LIV Golf and is involved in the day-to-day decisions of the breakaway league. A magistrate judge and U.S. District Court judge have both ruled the PIF and Al-Rumayyan must submit to discovery, but the fund has appealed that ruling to the 9th Circuit, claiming sovereign immunity.

Friday’s ruling denied the Tour’s motion to dismiss the appeal but invites the circuit to renew its jurisdictional arguments in their answering brief.

“What that means is that there will be no quick exit from the appellate court,” said Jodi S. Balsam, a professor of clinical law at Brooklyn Law School.

Opening briefs from both sides are due July 17, and Balsam explained that an oral argument will likely take place during the court’s term that runs from September 2023 through June 2024.

“Once fully briefed and argued, it could take the 9th Circuit another three to six months to issue a decision,” Balsam said. “So at least a year until we learn whether [PIF] will have to produce discovery in this litigation.”

The antitrust and counterclaim lawsuits are currently mired in multiple discovery disputes. The current trial date is May 17, 2024, although PIF’s appeal will likely impact that schedule.