NASL vs. Gulati: New York civil suit against U.S. Soccer board members dismissed

The NASL's civil lawsuit against U.S. Soccer board members in the Supreme Court of the State of New York has been dismissed after Judge Andrea Masley ruled that the case, filed in February 2018, overlapped with the NASL's antitrust suit against U.S. Soccer and MLS, which is in the discovery stage in U.S. district court in Brooklyn.

She ruled the defendants were "substantially similar" and the allegations and legal issues were almost the same, requiring the case to be dismissed in the interest of "judicial economy and to avoid duplication of effort or avoid conflicting rulings on similar issues."

The NASL sued U.S. Soccer -- and later added MLS -- for its refusal to grant Division 2 status in 2018 in a board decision taken in September 2017. The NASL, which has not played since 2017, then sued 14 of the 15 voting members of U.S. Soccer's board of directors and secretary general Dan Flynn for breach of fiduciary duty.

The board members sued were then-president Sunil Gulati, then-vice president Carlos Cordeiro, Pro Council members Don Garber and Stephen Malik, Youth Council members Jesse Harrell and Timothy Turney, Adult Council member Richard Moeller, Athlete Council members Chris Ahrens, Carlos Bocanegra and Angela Hucles, independent directors Valerie Ackerman, Lisa Carnoy and Donna Shalala and at-large director John Collins.

By a 9-1 vote, the board denied sanctioning the NASL as a Division 2 league for 2018. Gulati, Garber, Malik, Bocanegra and Collins recused themselves from the vote. USASA president John Motta, the second Adult Council member, was the lone board member to vote no on denying sanctioning.

Robert Contiguglia, the immediate past president and a non-voting member of the board wasn't sued. To the contrary, Flynn, a non-voting member, was sued. Harrell, Shalala and Contiguglia are no longer members of the board.

A second suit against Gulati, Garber, Malik and Flynn, asking that they not be allowed to seek indemnification from U.S. Soccer for their defense of the suit and any damages awarded against them because of their "bad faith" in the case, was also dismissed.
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