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Man embroiled in battle with city over his condemned Dorchester triple decker loses anti-trust case against the NFL and its union

James Dickey of Sudbury, who has spent the past few years filing lawsuits against city officials who demand he do something about his fire-ravaged, rat-infested property at 97 Mt. Ida Rd. in Dorchester, this week lost his legal battle - for now - against the NFL and the NFL Players Association over the union's refusal to let him try to be a player's agent any longer.

US District Court Judge Indira Talwani dismissed his $850-million federal anti-trust suit, saying she agreed with the league and the union that Dickey, who acted as his own lawyer, failed to "state a claim" or adequately show how he had been injured by their actions or had legal grounds for his suit.

The union had agreed to let Dickey become an official player's agent in 2007 and 2008 - but under a rule in the union's overall contract with the league that any agent who actually failed to sign up an agent within three years would be dropped. He got recertified as an agent, but was again dropped in 2016 for failing to get any players willing to use him.

Dickey then sued, charging the league and union had conspired to keep little guys like him out of the action even as they let more established agents skirt the rules.

In her ruling dismissing his case, Talwani writes there is no anti-trust illegality because unions have exemptions from federal anti-trust laws, and that a union seeking to represent large groups of workers are just not the same as companies conspiring to reduce competition. The union, she wrote, was within its rights to set rules for such things as who can represent its players.

By allowing agents to represent individual players, the NFLPA delegates some of its responsibilities as the exclusive representative of NFL players. Requirements and restrictions that the NFLPA imposes on its agents are designed to ensure that those to whom the union delegates these responsibilities meet certain standards. These include, for example, regulations designed to ensure agents' knowledge of and ability to faithfully apply the CBA [collective bargaining agreement], protect against misconduct, and prevent the charging of excessive fees. The Regulations expressly state that their purpose is “to help assure that the Contract Advisor will provide effective representation at fair, reasonable, and uniformly applicable rates to those individual players the Contract Advisor represents.” NFLPA Contract Advisor Regulations § 3. The Three Year Rule is an integral part of these standards, as it requires agents to demonstrate their qualifications to represent NFLPA members by either (1) successfully negotiating at least one contract or (2) obtaining recertification. In these ways, the Regulations and Three Year Rule contained therein are “clearly designed to promote the union's legitimate self-interest.” H.A. Artists, 451 U.S. at 721; see also Collins v. Nat'l Basketball Players Ass'n, 850 F. Supp. 1468, 1477 (D. Colo. 1991) (restrictions governing sports agents in professional basketball furthered union's self-interest).

She also rejected Dickey's argument that a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the league, which references the agent issue, is a violation of an anti-trust rulings that bar unions from "combining" with a non-union entity, writing that courts have long granted collective bargaining agreements their own exemption.

She added:

Because the NFLPA is the majority-elected exclusive representative of all NFL players, labor law does not provide Dickey with any authority to represent those players except that which the NFLPA - in its sole discretion - delegates to him. ...

Application of the antitrust laws to prevent the NFLPA from regulating its own members’ agents would conflict with the system of exclusive representation established in [the relevant law], while producing no direct competitive benefit in the relevant business market for professional football. This is precisely the type of labor market activity that the nonstatutory labor exemption shields from antitrust liability.

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PDF icon Judge's ruling76.65 KB


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The amount of tax payer's dollars wasted on this idiots frivolous law suit is absurd. They should take his property in Dorchester as punishment and then raze it and sell the land. I'm so sick of hearing about this clown.

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I’ve been fascinated by this saga, mostly by the lack of information about the guy. No background, no pictures, no interviews, for someone so interesting and litigious. I’ve poked enough to know he lives on a HUGE tract of valuable land in Sudbury that look like it’s totally ramshackle old farm property. And the town of Sudbury seems to handle him with caution, as the conservation folks have slowly been granted some of the land as he carves off pieces, everyone hoping he won’t sell to a developer. Does anyone know what his story is, he seems like a .... fascinating character.

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Sounds like the type of guy who somehow came across money, either from an investment or inheritance, and spends his free time trolling the legal system just for the hell of it. It's not like he's at risk if loosing anything meaningful to his quality of life.

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A litigious trust fund piece of garbage that spends his free time being a dumbass troll? Sounds familiar to a certain brat who was elected by the shithole red states,

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non roster NFL wide receivers not on the Patriots roster and needing representation....

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James Dickey is the local master of frivolous lawsuits.
I'm expecting one with a connection to Colin Kaepernick shortly.

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Would a taxpayer have standing to sue Dickey for "abuse of due process"?

Our tax dollars are contributing to salaries and benefits of the court's staff and judge. Would it be possible to argue that by "abusing due process," he is in fact wasting valuable tax dollars that could be put to better use in other places?

I mean it sounds like to might be a little frivolous, but if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Frivolous lawsuits "may also be defined as any lawsuit in which the plaintiff knows that there is little or no chance of the lawsuit succeeding if pursued in court." Sounds pretty on point to me?

Who's in for the class action "Taxpayers of MA vs. James Dickey"?

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they are normally entitled to collect legal fees and court costs. Perhaps when a person loses a civil case, they should be required to reimburse the state for legal fees and court costs the state had to incur.

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