United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
DALLAS TEXANS SOCCER CLUB, CROSSFIRE FOUNDATION, INC., SOCKERS FC CHICAGO, LLC
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER PLAYERS UNION, CLINT DEMPSEY, DEANDRE YEDLIN, MICHAEL BRADLEY
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is the Motion of Defendants Michael Bradley,
Clint Dempsey, and Deandre Yedlin to Dismiss for Lack of
Personal Jurisdiction (Dkt. #12). Having considered the
pleadings, the Court finds the motion should be granted.
are three youth soccer clubs located in the United States.
Each youth soccer club is associated with the United States
Soccer Federation, Inc. (the “U.S. Soccer
Federation”), which is a Federation Internationale de
Football Association (“FIFA”) national
association member. FIFA national association members must
adopt FIFA rules and regulations, except when compliance with
a specific FIFA rule is illegal under national law.
FIFA rules, professional soccer clubs must pay youth soccer
clubs that trained players certain fees, called training
compensation and solidarity fees. When a player signs his or
her first contract with a professional soccer club in a
different national association, the professional soccer club
must pay the youth club training compensation. When a player
is transferred to a professional soccer club in a different
national association, the professional soccer club acquiring
the player must pay the youth club a solidarity fee. Disputes
over the payment of training compensation and solidarity fees
are adjudicated by FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber in
initiated administrative proceedings before the Dispute
Resolution Chamber seeking either training compensation or
solidarity fees in connection with the signing or transfer of
players Plaintiffs trained. Specifically, Plaintiff Dallas
Texans Soccer Club (the “Dallas Texans”) trained
Defendant Clint Dempsey and is seeking a solidarity fee in
connection with Dempsey's transfer to Major League
Soccer, LLC from the Football Association of the United
Kingdom. Plaintiff Crossfire Foundation Inc.
(“Crossfire”) trained Defendant Deandre Yedlin
and is seeking a solidarity fee in connection with
Yedlin's transfer to the Football Association of the
United Kingdom from Major League Soccer, LLC. Plaintiff
Sockers FC Chicago, LLC (“Sockers”) trained
Defendant Michael Bradley and is seeking a solidarity fee in
connection with Bradley's transfer to Major League
Soccer, LLC from the Italian Football Federation. Plaintiff
Sockers also trained Eric Pothast and is seeking training
compensation in connection with his signing with Angelholms
FF of the Swedish Football Association.
Major League Soccer Players Union (the “Players
Union”) is the exclusive collective bargaining
representative of all players selected to play in Major
League Soccer, LLC. The Players Union is not a party to the
contracts between Major League Soccer, LLC and international
teams that would give rise to Plaintiffs claims for training
compensation and solidarity fees. The Players Union
represents fifty-nine players in Texas, including at least
twenty-one players from the Dallas Texans. The Players Union
has two union representatives continuously present in Texas
and sends employees to meet with players in Texas. The
Players Union is an unincorporated association with offices
in Bethesda, Maryland.
24, 2016, Plaintiffs, the Players Union, the U.S. Soccer
Federation, and professional soccer leagues met in Chicago,
Illinois, to discuss a training compensation and solidarity
fee system for U.S. youth clubs. Plaintiffs allege that
during this meeting, Bob Foose, the Executive Director of the
Players Union, stated that any effort by Plaintiffs to
enforce training compensation or solidarity fees would
violate antitrust law. Plaintiffs also allege that a
representative from Major League Soccer, LLC alerted U.S.
youth club representatives that the Players Union threatened
to file an antitrust lawsuit against Plaintiffs, the U.S.
Soccer Federation, and others if the Dispute Resolution
Chamber awarded Plaintiffs training compensation or
1, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a Class Action Complaint for
Declaratory Relief against the Players Union, Dempsey,
Yedlin, Bradley, and all those similarly situated (Dkt. #1).
Plaintiffs seek a declaration that any U.S. youth club's
receipt of training compensation or solidarity fees does not
violate antitrust laws. Plaintiffs also seek a declaration
that the implementation of a system of training compensation
and solidarity fees for player transactions within the U.S.
does not violate antitrust laws.
November 3, 2016, the Defendant Players filed the pending
motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction (Dkt.
#12). On December 1, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a response (Dkt.
#24). The Defendant Players filed a reply on December 21,
2016 (Dkt. #35).
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) requires a court to dismiss
a claim if the court does not have personal jurisdiction over
the defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). After a nonresident
defendant files a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, the party seeking to invoke the court's
jurisdiction must “present sufficient facts as to make
out only a prima facie case supporting jurisdiction.”
Alpine View Co. v. Atlas Copco AB, 205 F.3d 208, 215
(5th Cir. 2000). When considering the motion to dismiss, the
court must accept as true the plaintiff's uncontroverted
allegations and resolve factual conflicts in favor of the
federal court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant if (1) the forum state's long-arm
statute confers personal jurisdiction over that defendant,
and (2) the exercise of personal jurisdiction comports with
the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Int'l Energy Ventures Mgmt., L.L.C. v. United Energy
Grp., Ltd., 818 F.3d 193, 212 (5th Cir. 2016). Because
the Texas long-arm statute extends as far as constitutional
due process permits, a court only needs to determine whether
a suit in Texas is consistent with the due process clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment. Id. The due process clause
requires that a court exercise personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant only if the defendant has
“certain minimum contacts with [the forum state] such
that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice.”
Id. (citing Int ...