Volume 18, Issue 9 | December 2018
News from Oakland City Attorney
Barbara J. Parker
On behalf of everyone in the Oakland City Attorney's Office, I wish you and your village a happy holiday season and a spiritually fulfilling new year.

This month we filed a federal antitrust and breach of contract lawsuit against the National Football League, the Oakland Raiders and the 31 other league teams.
As always, we look forward to your questions and comments about the work we are doing on behalf of the people of Oakland.

Happy holidays!

Barbara J. Parker
Oakland City Attorney
City of Oakland files federal antitrust and breach of contract lawsuit against the National Football League, Oakland Raiders and the 31 other league teams
In December, I filed a federal antitrust and breach of contract lawsuit against the National Football League (“NFL”), the Raiders and each of the other 31 NFL clubs (“NFL Defendants”). 

I recommended and the Oakland City Council authorized filing the lawsuit to recover damages resulting from the Raiders’ illegal move to Las Vegas, including lost revenue, money that Oakland taxpayers invested in the Raiders and other costs. 
By boycotting Oakland in the marketplace for hosting a football club and voting to approve the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, the NFL Defendants violated federal antitrust laws. The NFL Defendants also violated the NFL’s own policies for team relocation.

Oakland has supported the Raiders through thick and thin. Raiders’ fans are some of the most loyal fans in the country, and their support did not waiver even when the team left Oakland. It would be one thing for the team to leave town after decades of support from the fans and taxpayers, but to do so in a way that brazenly violated antitrust laws and the league's own policies adds insult to injury.
For years, the NFL Defendants – a carefully limited number of football clubs – have been recognized as a “cartel” in the marketplace for professional football. In 1984, a California federal court affirmed that the NFL defendants had misused their cartel power in determining when an NFL team may move to a new city.  In response, the NFL adopted, and the NFL Defendants agreed to follow, express “relocation policies” to guide future team moves. These policies focus on issues like population, economic projections, facilities, regional balance and fan loyalty in making relocation determinations. The relocation policies expressly favor host cities like Oakland in any relocation determination.

Recently, the NFL has allowed NFL clubs to move even when the relocation is a clear violation of its relocation policies. Threats of relocation are a central part of the NFL’s practice of demanding public financing for new stadiums, which significantly increase team revenues and ticket prices. Further, each time an NFL club moves, all NFL teams share a “relocation fee.” During the last few years, the NFL Defendants have shared approximately $1.47 billion in these fees. The Raiders alone have agreed to pay over $370 million to the other NFL Defendants for their “yes” vote on the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas.

The NFL’s demand for the public to bankroll new stadiums under threat of club relocation has pushed cities like Oakland out of the marketplace for professional football teams, caused skyrocketing ticket prices, and enriched the NFL owners. In violation of the antitrust laws, the NFL is using its cartel power to undermine competition and generate fortunes for themselves, all at a significant cost to taxpayers.

We filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California with the assistance of the law firms of Berg & Androphy and Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP, nationally recognized antitrust lawyers. The firms are working on a contingency fee basis, so their fees and costs will be paid solely from any recovery. 

We are not estimating damages at this point, but we are seeking to recover the maximum amount permitted by law.  The courts award treble (three times) damages and attorney’s fees in federal antitrust actions.  Please see the press release that we issued regarding the lawsuit below.

City Attorney Holiday Celebration  
OCA 2018
On December 14, City Attorney’s Office held our annual holiday party. 

During the holiday season, I reflect on how thankful I am to have the opportunity to work my hardest for Oakland with a team of talented, principled people dedicated to helping our city to shine brighter. 

I am inspired every day by my colleagues. As 2018 comes to a close, I want to thank the employees of the City Attorney's Office for their integrity, their grit and their hard work; often we work under challenging circumstances and behind the scenes to support and help to implement the City’s mission.

Photo from left to right: Executive Assistant to the City Attorney Jamie Smith, Paralegal Eric Butler, Deputy City Attorney Harveen Gill, Public Service Representative Nikki La & Neighborhood Law Corps Attorney Scott Hugo, participants in the City Attorney's 2018 "Ugly Holiday Sweater" competition. Eric Butler (second from the left) won first prize.
City Attorney in the Community  
Bay Area City Attorney Association (BACA) Annual Holiday Luncheon

On December 21, I had the honor of hosting this year’s annual Bay Area City Attorney Association Annual Holiday Luncheon at Kincaid’s restaurant in Jack London Square. Our Office alternates hosting the December holiday luncheon with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. The luncheon provides an opportunity for for city attorneys to gather, recap the challenges of the past year and begin planning coalitions and projects for the coming new year. I spoke briefly to the guests about the successes and challenges Oakland, California and our country have experienced since my Office hosted the 2016 luncheon. My remarks at the luncheon are below.

City Attorney remarks at the 2018 BACA Annual Holiday Luncheon:

Good afternoon. It is my distinct honor and pleasure to welcome each of you back to the City of Oakland for the 2018 BACA holiday luncheon. First, I’d like to recognize and thank BACA President  Jason Alcala , City Attorney for the City of Livermore, for his work. Second, I extend my heartfelt thanks to  Jamie Smith , my Executive Assistant, who worked tirelessly to coordinate this luncheon and who is indispensable to me and our entire Office!

If you haven’t been here since the 2016 luncheon at Pican in Uptown Oakland, or perhaps the 2014 luncheon at this very spot, you’ve probably noticed that downtown, Jack London Square and the Broadway and Telegraph corridors are bustling.  There is a construction boom with cranes every few blocks in downtown and Uptown Oakland. The gorgeous renovation of Lake Merritt is stunning and a national model. Oakland continues to thrive, a product in large part of our historical diversity and grit.  We are featured in blockbuster movies like “Black Panther” and “Sorry to Bother You.” National Geographic touted Oakland as one of the top must see destinations in the world in 2019; one of only 4 U.S. cities on the list of 28 cities.

This success and the beauty of our City are bittersweet as they have led to dramatic increases in rents and housing prices, and an ongoing housing and homelessness crisis that is threatening the energy and creativity and diversity that make our city so unique and great; more and more families are homeless. In Alameda County, the homeless population is disproportionately African American (49 percent), and 82 percent were living in Alameda County when they became homeless, half of them for a decade or longer. This is tragic and dismal picture in our City and many others in the Bay Area, throughout California and our nation.  It is an outrage; it is shameful and it is unacceptable in the richest country in the world.

Also, we are continuing to fight the legal battles to stop discrimination based on race, gender, immigrant/refugee status, LGBTQ status, disability, religion AND to preserve our values and our bedrock constitutional principles that are under assault every day by the current federal administration. As City Attorneys, we are on the front lines fighting to protect the rights of our residents, clients and our communities. I have signed onto numerous amicus briefs and filed lawsuits during the last two years to protect the rights and interests of Oaklanders, Californians and all Americans and we will continue this work.  Looking at the glass half full instead of half empty as I like to do, this work has spawned new partnerships with city attorneys, attorneys general and cities and counties across the country.    

I am optimistic about the future because of the work we are doing together and because I believe the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.  That’s why we chose this profession – because we believe in fighting for justice.

During this holiday season, I have been reflecting on how thankful I am to have the opportunity to work my hardest for Oakland and to work with all of you to achieve our mutual goal of helping our cities to shine brighter. 

Thank you again for being here.  I wish each of you a relaxing holiday season, and a spiritually fulfilling new year.
Governor Jerry Brown appoints Oakland Deputy City Attorney Colin Bowen as Alameda County Superior Court Judge
Bowen swearing-in
I was delighted to attend the swearing-in ceremony for my colleague Colin Bowen as an Alameda County Superior Court Judge on Friday, December 21st.

Judge Bowen served as a Supervising Deputy City Attorney in the Litigation Division of the Oakland City Attorney’s Office since 2015. Before he joined our Office, Judge Bowen was interim board counsel for the Oakland Citizens Police Review Board from 2014 to 2015 and a sole practitioner from 2013 to 2015. 

Judge Bowen also was a partner at Clay and Bowen LLP from 2007 to 2013 and a deputy public defender at the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office from 1994 to 2007. He was an associate at McKenna and Cuneo from 1992 to 1994 and at Miller, Starr and Regalia from 1990 to 1992. Colin earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Roy Hashimoto.

This is a well-deserved and high honor for Judge Bowen, the City Attorney’s Office and Oakland. I am thrilled that Governor Brown’s appointment recognizes Judge Bowen’s expertise, skills, his balance and judicial temperament. We wish Judge Bowen well as he continues his public service and commitment to justice and equity.

Photo from left to right: Deputy City Attorney Andrew Huang, Supervising Deputy City Attorney David Pereda, City Attorney Barbara Parker, Judge Colin Bowen & Chief Assistant City Attorney Maria Bee
In Brief: Oakland filed an amicus brief in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in  Los Angeles v. Sessions , a challenge to the federal government's threat to withhold law enforcement grant funding from sanctuary cities. So far, lawsuits by a number of local jurisdictions have successfully blocked the Trump administration from punishing cities that decline to participate in Trump's inhumane, cruel and racist campaign against undocumented immigrants. Oakland has filed amicus ("friend-of-the-court") briefs in a number of these cases. In this case, the federal government is appealing the trial court's ruling in favor of the City of Los Angeles.
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