About the time Augusta National was clearing away three pine trees that fell during Friday’s second round of the Masters, a federal judge in California had little choice but to delay any potential trial date in LIV Golf’s antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman vacated the Jan. 8, 2024, trial date. She has set Jan. 11, 2024 for a hearing on summary judgment, indicating the earliest the trial could be would be four months later.
Part of the delay is because Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, are appealing Freeman’s ruling that they cannot claim sovereign immunity under the Foreign Services Immunity Act because of their commercial activity.
The case management hearing got testy toward the end. Freeman was setting a trial date for May when the attorney for the PIF argued about the judge limiting pages to 25 per side for a motion. Freeman said the PIF and LIV would have to share the page limit.
“I’m not setting a summary judgment schedule, it’s vacated. I’m not setting a trial, it’s vacated and I will now look at my schedule when I can hear all of your motions,” Freeman said. “It may be two years from now.”
She eventually stuck with the Jan. 11 hearing without setting a trial date.
Freeman also was leaning against a Saudi request to hear the cases separately — the antitrust case against the PGA Tour and the tour’s countersuit claiming LIV interfered.
LIV Golf would be in its third season at the earliest when the case goes to trial.