PGA Tour, LIV Golf Fail To Resolve Discovery Dispute

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A Northern California judge’s attempt to force attorneys for the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) to resolve a complicated discovery dispute has failed and will likely require a final ruling.

Tour lawyers expanded the scope of their discovery in the ongoing antitrust case beyond LIV Golf, which sued the circuit in August, to the PIF, which financed and owns 93 percent of the startup league, and the governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan . The Tour claimed that Al-Rumayyan and the PIF are “alter egos” of LIV Golf and that they are involved in the circuit’s day-to-day operations, so it sought discovery in its counter suit which LIV claimed, and by proxy PIF, forced Tour players for violating their agreements with the Tour to join LIV.

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PIF’s lawyers disputed the daily claim, saying the fund was nothing more than an investor in a startup, as well as a foreign sovereign investment fund with immunity from discovery in the United States.

In a hearing last Friday, judge Susan van Keulen gave both parties to the discovery dispute until Wednesday to reach a compromise, but that seems to fall short.

In a joint motion filed Thursday, attorneys for the PIF and Al-Rumayyan offered to allow discovery with five provisions, including requiring that the production of documents not violate Saudi Arabia’s laws and that neither Al -Rumayyan nor any other PIF witness would. submit to deletion.

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The Tour’s lawyers objected to the “documents-only” provisions [PIF] deems appropriate.” Specifically, the Tour claims the provisions would “enable PIF to pick and choose the information it chooses to disclose, while denying the Tour access to nearly all relevant documents.”

The dispute now returns to court in Cologne Judge and it is unclear how the deadlock could affect the antitrust case.

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