Katinka Hosszu, Michael Andrew, Tom Shields File Lawsuit Against FINA

Represented by California law firms Farella Braun & Martel; and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein; 3 swimmers have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against FINA for violating U.S. antitrust laws. Stars Katinka HosszuMichael Andrew, and Tom Shields are the lead plaintiffs in the case. The International Swimming League (ISL) have filed a separate lawsuit, on the same theories.

Hosszu and Andrew are expected to swim at the FINA-hosted Short Course World Championships next week in Hangzhou, China.

The lawsuits involve FINA’s moves to block the 2018 Energy for Swim meet that was supposed to be hosted in Italy later this month. The lawsuit hearkens to one filed against the International Skating Union in 2017, where a judge ruled that their moves to block skaters from competing in non-authorized competitions were in breach of European Union antitrust laws, except that this one is being filed in the United States.

Further context:

The lawsuit claims violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which forbids organizations from engaging in anti-competitive behavior. The Sherman Act resulted in the breakup of Standard Oil and AT&T, among other organizations. Attorneys for the plaintiffs also claim tortious interference with contractual relations or prospective economic relations, for collusion to unreasonably restrict competition, and for monopoly. The lawsuits seek injunctive relief and monetary damages for the named plaintiffs and for all class members, which could include dozens of pro swimmers from around the world who signed contract. The class, if accepted, would not be limited to just Americans, even though the suit is filed in the United States.

According to the release, the suit was only undertaken after FINA demanded a $50 million fee to approve ISL events.

“Very few select swimmers make a living swimming, while FINA is making a killing,” said Andrew, who in 2013 became the youngest swimmer to go pro. “FINA’s main consideration is not for swimmers. FINA set our sport back into the dark ages by blocking ISL’s request. They can co-exist.”

Andrew is the defending World Champion in the 100 IM and won a gold medal in the 50 free at the 2018 Pan Pac Championships.

Shields, an Olympic gold medalist, is a lead plaintiff and the named plaintiff in the proposed class-action lawsuit. He says that he has dreamed for years of seeing the sport expand to include a professional league. “We are closer now than ever before to making that dream come true,” he said. “But that dream is being blocked by FINA.”

The lead plaintiff with the biggest resume is Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who won 3 individual golds and an individual silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. That goes with 20 World Championships, and 82 total major international medals.

“My passion has always been to push swimming in the direction where swimmers are partners of the governing body, not just muppets,” she said. “ISL takes swimmers seriously, not like FINA.”

Hosszu is also the dominant figure in the last decade of the FINA World Cup Series, which recently made changes that limited her earnings potential.

The class-action lawsuit is Shields, et al. v. FINA, Case No. 18-cv-07393. ISL’s lawsuit is International Swimming League, Ltd. v. FINA, Case No. 18-cv07394. Both suits are pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

SwimSwam has reached out to FINA for comment, but they have not responded.

Important Documents:

 

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50free
2 years ago

THATS MY BOI

Mike
Reply to  50free
2 years ago

Muppets?

Tyler
2 years ago

Yesssss! Finally!

Tea rex
2 years ago

Federation of Incompetent Nincompoop Arses

SpaceFredette
2 years ago

Ya know- there was a period a few years ago where I was skeptical of Michael Andrew…and although I haven’t totally bought into USRPT…I absolutely respect this young man more and more. His character outside of the pool is beginning to show more and more as he matures as an athlete.

The revolution has begun.

Sccoach
Reply to  SpaceFredette
2 years ago

He sues someone and now you like him?

50_SJF
Reply to  Sccoach
2 years ago

Actions speak louder than words

Sccoach
Reply to  Sccoach
2 years ago

To be clear to all the haters (downvoters) I’ve always been pro MA, I just think it’s funny that people all of a sudden like him because he’s against FINA. He’s been cool all along folks

Swim/Swam/Swum
Reply to  Sccoach
2 years ago

How in the hell is suing someone bad? Take this to a logical extreme: if suing is bad and someone punches you in the face, is it bad to sue for assault? I think most people with, well, a conscience would say no. FINA is in violation of antitrust laws and these athletes have every right to sue, and that includes a moral right. Get off your high horse get out of here.

Sccoach
Reply to  Swim/Swam/Swum
2 years ago

Who said it was bad? Relax internet tough person.

justathought
Reply to  Sccoach
2 years ago

I can’t speak for the person to whom you’re replying, but I don’t think they meant that this single action changed their opinion of MA. I think that the positive change in public opinion about him has been a long time coming, and there have been many reasons for it. This is just another one of those reasons. In addition, I feel like this lawsuit is likely supported by many SwimSwam readers, and Andrew’s part in it is just another reason to like him.

Stefan
Reply to  SpaceFredette
2 years ago

The Aquatic Spring! 😉

SUM Ting Wong
Reply to  Stefan
2 years ago

Lmao . Egypt Libya Syria ….hope not . Might be closer to France if they wear yellow floaties.

50_SJF
2 years ago

Really respect this decision athletes are taking stand against unjust actions hope the ruling is in their favor

Just sayin
2 years ago

I would love to see some Fina officials hand medals out to the people suing them would make my year

Karl Ortegon
2 years ago

Shields V. FINA !!!!

Years of Plain Suck
Reply to  Karl Ortegon
2 years ago

FINA is going to feel the piano soon!

NCSwimDad
Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
2 years ago

When I saw the headline I immediately thought Shields was finally suing because FINA was negligently allowing someone to repeatedly drop pianos on his back.

Bear drinks beer
2 years ago

Wasn’t Peter Andrew speaking at Fina Convention right now?

Troy
Reply to  Bear drinks beer
2 years ago

Michael Andrew no longer a child I don’t have a lot of views my family has..

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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