(CN) - Electronic Arts can stay a consolidated class action accusing it of conspiring to dupe college athletes into signing away their rights to profit from their own images, a federal judge in Oakland, Calif., ruled.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken said EA was entitled to proceedings and discovery because it has appealed the court's denial of its anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion to strike.
Though the anti-SLAPP claims were only filed in connection to the lawsuit brought by former Arizona State quarterback Samuel Keller, Wilken said she used her discretion to stay proceedings and discovery against EA on other plaintiffs' claims that are identical to those on appeal.
Keller filed his complaint, claiming EA conspired with the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing to violate his right of publicity, in May 2009. UCLA basketball star Edward O'Bannon filed his complaint two months later, asserting antitrust claims against NCAA and CLC. University of North Carolina football player Bryon Bishop sued over misappropriation of image in September. All three complaints were consolidated in January, and the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in March.
Wilken refused to stay proceedings and discovery for the NCAA and CLC.
Keller, Bishop, Bryan Cummings and Lamarr Watkins and Byron had moved to deconsolidate, but Wilken rejected that motion as well.
A dozen plaintiffs, including O'Bannon, joined the defendants in fighting the motion to deconsolidate.
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