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In re Pacquiao-Mayweather Boxing Match Pay-Per-View Litigation

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

November 21, 2019

In re Pacquiao-Mayweather Boxing Match Pay-Per-View Litigation,
v.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Top Rank, Inc.; Robert Arum; Michael Koncz; Home Box Office, Inc.; Todd DuBoef, Defendants-Appellees. Gerald F. Alessi; Victor Bobadilla; Enrique Barrios; David Bradley; Bill Brady; Chamar Bynum; Victor Capo; Sean Michael Crabtree; Devarious Craig; Kristina Darden; John Day; Paul Dehart; Brian Denis Flynn; David Galandak; Ray Heredia; Greg Hoevener; Jammers, Inc.; Seth J. Lamb; Joseph Lake; Paul Mahoney; Robert Martinez; Heather McDonald; Susan Medina; Howard Miller; Lisette Nazario; Felix Natal; Evans Nycole; Gary Rempel; Jacqueline Mora Rodriguez; Jason Schofield; Gabriel Ivan Santos; David Smith;Angela Thill; Joshua Thrailkill; Christopher Vallaro; City Nights Hospitality, LLC, Plaintiffs-Appellants, Jammers, Inc., DBA Flight Restaurant/Flights Beer Bar, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated; City Nights Hospitality, LLC, DBA 48 Lounge, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Top Rank, Inc.; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Michael Koncz; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Home Box Office, Inc., Defendants-Appellees. Paul Mahoney, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated; Brian Denis Flynn; John Day; Heather McDonald; Angela Thill; Gary Rempel, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Emmanuel Pacquiao; Top Rank, Inc.; Michael Koncz; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Home Box Office, Inc., Defendants-Appellees. Enrique Barrios; Christopher Vallaro; Felix Natal; Chamar Bynum; David Smith, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Emmanuel Pacquiao; Top Rank, Inc.; Michael Koncz; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Home Box Office, Inc., Defendants-Appellees. Gerald F. Alessi, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Top Rank, Inc.; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Michael Koncz; Home Box Office, Inc.; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC, Defendants-Appellees. Bill Brady, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated; Howard Miller; Paul Brodsky; Marcy Lokietz, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Home Box Office, Inc.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Top Rank, Inc.; Michael Koncz; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef, Defendants-Appellees. David Bradley, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Emmanuel Pacquiao; Top Rank, Inc.; Michael Koncz; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Home Box Office, Inc.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Defendants-Appellees. Victor Bobadilla; Lisette Nazario; Jason Schofield; Evans Nycole, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Top Rank, Inc.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Robert Arum; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Home Box Office, Inc.; Michael Koncz; Todd DuBoef, Defendants-Appellees. David Galandak; Robert Martinez; Susan Medina, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Top Rank, Inc.; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Home Box Office, Inc.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Michael Koncz, Defendants-Appellees. Greg Hoevener, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Top Rank, Inc.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Robert Arum; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Todd DuBoef; Michael Koncz; Home Box Office, Inc., Defendants-Appellees. Devarious Craig; Kristina Darden, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Emmanuel Pacquiao; Top Rank, Inc.; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Michael Koncz; Home Box Office, Inc.; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC, Defendants-Appellees. Paul Dehart; Ray Heredia, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Top Rank, Inc.; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Michael Koncz; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Home Box Office, Inc., Defendants-Appellees. Seth J. Lamb; Victor Capo, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Home Box Office, Inc.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Top Rank, Inc.; Michael Koncz; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Defendants-Appellees. Jacqueline Mora Rodriguez; Gabriel Ivan Santos, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Top Rank, Inc.; Robert Arum; Michael Koncz; Todd DuBoef; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Home Box Office, Inc., Defendants-Appellees. Joshua Thrailkill, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Top Rank, Inc.; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Michael Koncz; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Home Box Office, Inc., Defendants-Appellees. Sean Michael Crabtree, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Emmanuel Pacquiao; Top Rank, Inc.; Michael Koncz; Robert Arum; Todd DuBoef; Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Mayweather Promotions, LLC; Home Box Office, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued and Submitted March 7, 2019 Pasadena, California

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California D.C. Nos. 2:15-ml-02639-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06231-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06233-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-03376-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06234-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06229-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06230-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06575-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06529-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06561-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06570-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06589-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-03370-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-03493-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-03693-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-04435-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06226-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06586-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06587-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06591-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06664-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06665-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06701-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06707-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06713-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-07093-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-03381-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06585-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06588-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06227-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06562-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06573-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06574-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06564-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06615-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06662-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-03419-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-03493-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06585-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-07093-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06591-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06227-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06662-RGK-PLA, 2:15-cv-06701-RGK-PLA R. Gary Klausner, District Judge, Presiding

          Hart L. Robinovitch (argued), Zimmerman Reed LLP, Scottsdale, Arizona; Paul B. Derby, Courtney E. Curtis, and John J. O'Kane IV, Skiermont Derby LLP, Los Angeles, California; Laurence D. King and Matthew B. George, Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP, San Francisco, California; Marc A. Goldich, Axler Goldich LLC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Kevin P. Roddy, Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer P.A., Woodbridge, New Jersey; Melissa Emert, Stull Stull & Brody, New York, New York; Caleb Marker, Zimmerman Reed LLP, Manhattan Beach, California; William B. Federman and Carin L. Marcussen, Federman & Sherwood, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; David Woloshin, Astor Weiss Kaplan & Mandel LLP, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Todd Seth Garber, Finkelstein Blankenship Freipearson & Garber LLP, White Plains, New York; Abbas Kazerounian, Kazerouni Law Group APC, Costa Mesa, California; Stephen P. DeNittis, DeNittis Osefchen P.C., Marlton, New Jersey; James J. Jimmerson, Jimmerson Law Firm PC, Las Vegas, Nevada; Robert R. Duncan, Duncan Law Group LLC, Chicago, Illinois; Will Kemp and J. Randall Jones, Kemp Jones & Coulthard LLP, Las Vegas, Nevada; Thomas C. Cronin, Cronin & Co. Ltd., Chicago, Illinois; Todd M. Friedman and Adrian R. Bacon, Law Offices of Todd Friedman P.C., Beverly Hills, California; Francis M. Gregorek, Betsy C. Manifold, and Rachelle R. Rickert, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, San Diego, California; Lee A. Weiss and Albert G. Lum, Burns Weiss LLP, Canoga Park, California; Shannon L. Hopkins, Nancy A. Kulesa, and Stephanie A. Bartone, Levi & Korsinsky LLP, Stamford, Connecticut; Thomas J. McKenna and Gregory M. Egleston, Gainey McKenna & Egleston, New York, New York; Michael S. Agruss, Agruss Law Firm LLC, Chicago, Illinois; Thomas A. Zimmerman Jr. and Amelia S. Newton, Zimmerman Law Offices P.C., Chicago, Illinois; Scott D. Egleston, Scott Egleston P.A., Miami, Florida; Zachary West, The Berman Law Group, Boca Raton, Florida; Cullin O'Brien, Cullin O'Brien Law P.A., Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Paul Kent Bramlett, Bramlett Law Offices, Nashville, Tennessee; Sandesh K. Viswanath, SKV Law Firm PLC, Southfield, Michigan; Leon Greenberg, Las Vegas, Nevada; Nelson Robles Diaz, Nelson Robles-Diaz Law Offices P.S.C., San Juan, Puerto Rico; T. Ryan Langley, Hodge & Langley Law Firm P.C., Spartanburg, South Carolina; Buddy S. Perry, Winchester, Tennessee; Eric M. Albritton, Anthony K. Bruster, and Shawn A. Latchford, Albritton Law Firm, Longview, Texas; Marcus R. Spagnoletti, Spagnoletti & Co., Houston, Texas; Edgardo M. Lopez, J. Flores Valdez, and Marlon B. Baldomero, Filipino Law Group, Los Angeles, California; for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

          Mark G. Tratos (argued), Greenberg Traurig LLP, Las Vegas, Nevada; Ruth A. Bahe-Jachna, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Chicago, Illinois; for Defendants-Appellees Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions LLC.

          Daniel M. Petrocelli (argued), Jeffrey A. Barker, David Marroso, and Esteban Rodriguez, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Defendants-Appellees Emmanuel Pacquiao, Top Rank Inc., Robert Arum, Michael Koncz, Todd DuBoef, and Home Box Office Inc.

          Before: Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge, and Ronald Lee Gilman [*] and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges.

         SUMMARY [**]

         Class Action

         The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of putative class actions in Multidistrict Litigation brought by spectators against boxers and promoters of the May 2, 2015 Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.

         Plaintiffs alleged that defendants concealed a preexisting injury to boxer Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, and they would not have purchased tickets had they known of the injury.

         The panel held that plaintiffs, who were spectators disappointed by a sporting event, did not suffer a legally cognizable injury. The panel further held that plaintiffs essentially got what they paid for - a full-length regulation fight between two boxing legends.

          OPINION

          NGUYEN, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         "The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. The human drama of athletic competition."[1] Jim McKay's famous phrase captures not only the excitement but also the uncertainty of competitive sports for athletes and fans alike. On any given day, an underdog may defeat a champion, and a highly anticipated match may end up a total bust. In the world of boxing, facing 42-1 odds, James "Buster" Douglas achieved the unthinkable when he knocked out Mike Tyson, a world heavyweight champion who entered the ring 37-0 with 33 knockouts. And the "Fight of the Century" between world-champion boxers Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. turned out to be a "yawner," which prompted this lawsuit.

         Pacquiao and Mayweather squared off at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 2, 2015. After twelve rounds, Mayweather was declared the winner against "underdog" Pacquiao in a unanimous decision. During the post-fight press conference, Pacquiao revealed that he had injured his right shoulder in training camp nearly a month before. Plaintiffs in numerous jurisdictions seized on the injury disclosure and filed putative class-action complaints alleging that Pacquiao was "damaged goods," that the fight was a "magnificent con," and that they would not have purchased tickets had they known of Pacquiao's injury. The district court dismissed the complaints in this multidistrict litigation on the ground that Plaintiffs have not suffered a cognizable legal injury because in short, they got what they paid for. We affirm.

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background [2]

         For several years before the long-awaited May 2, 2015 fight, Pacquiao, an eight-division world champion, and Mayweather, an undefeated, five-division world champion, were "considered as and reported to be the best 'pound-for- pound' fighters in recent history, if not ever, in the world." The two camps began exploring the possibility of a Mayweather-Pacquiao matchup as far back as 2009. In 2015, a preliminary agreement was reached, and Pacquiao, Mayweather, their teams, and Home Box Office, Inc. ("HBO," the fight broadcaster), began promoting the fight "as the biggest event in boxing history and the 'Fight of the Century.'"

         On or about April 4, 2015, Pacquiao tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder during a sparring session. As a result, Pacquiao "had to discontinue sparring sessions during his training camp" and sent one of his sparring partners home with instructions not to disclose his injury to anyone. Pacquiao and his team considered postponing the fight but decided to proceed after consultation with his doctors.

         Despite the injury, Pacquiao's head trainer, Freddie Roach, [3] remarked to media outlets that "he had never seen Pacquiao in 'such pristine condition.'" Roach boasted that Pacquiao was in "top condition" and called him "a freak." Robert Arum, the founder, Chairman, CEO, and Treasurer of Top Rank, Inc. ("Top Rank"), Pacquiao's promotional company, publicly declared that Pacquiao is "better than I've ever seen him," is "super confident and super relaxed," and that "[y]ou're going to see the best Manny." In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Roach stated that Pacquiao was training "with only his left arm" in order to "to sharpen the use of [his] 'deadly' left punch and to help him improve his footwork so he could cut off the ring against the 'elusive' Mayweather." Roach also stated that Pacquiao "could beat [Mayweather] with his right arm tied behind his back." And during a press conference, Roach stated that Pacquiao "is in great shape," that he "had a great training camp," and that he "is ready to go." Pacquiao also said during that press conference that he was feeling "good, very good."

         Tickets to the fight went on sale on April 23, 2015, and sold out within minutes, commanding prices ranging from $1, 500 to more than $7, 500 per seat in the MGM Grand Garden Arena. On the secondary market, single tickets sold for as much as $231, 000. Pay-per-view ("PPV") access to the fight "broke the record for the most expensive boxing [PPV] event in history," with commercial subscribers paying up to $10, 000 to show the fight at their establishments.

         On May 1, 2015, the day before the fight, Pacquiao and Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's personal advisor, completed a Nevada State Athletic Commission ("NSAC") pre-fight medical questionnaire under penalty of perjury. Pacquiao represented on the questionnaire that he had not suffered any injury or serious medical condition of any kind. Three hours before the fight, however, a Top Rank employee informed the NSAC for the first time of Pacquiao's shoulder injury and asked that Pacquiao be allowed to receive a pre-fight injection of an anti-inflammatory pain medication. The NSAC denied the treatment request because Pacquiao had ...


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