Tour files motion for change of venue in caddie lawsuit

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DORAL, Fla. – As first reported by GolfChannel.com on Feb. 23, the PGA Tour filed a motion for a change of venue on Thursday in its ongoing lawsuit with more than 80 caddies.

The lawsuit, which was filed last month in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenges the requirement that caddies wear bibs with sponsor’s names on them without any compensation, and the Tour’s motion requests the class action lawsuit be moved to the Middle District of Florida.

Attorneys for the caddies filed the lawsuit in California because the Tour has an office in San Francisco and that court’s involvement in the O’Bannon vs. NCAA lawsuit last year, which was based on similar arguments the caddies are making against the Tour.

The Tour countered on Thursday, however, pointing out its offices in San Francisco are “temporary” and include “approximately 10 employees.”

Raoul Kennedy, an attorney for the Tour, also points out that Florida’s middle district is closer to the circuit’s headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and is home to 22 of the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. By comparison, the motion claims not a single caddie named in the current lawsuit lives in the Northern District of California.

“The caddies bring this case in this district despite its complete lack of any relevant connection to this case or any of the parties. In fact, and by an overwhelming margin, the ‘center of gravity’ of this case is the Middle District of Florida,” Kennedy wrote.

The motion is expected to be argued in San Francisco on April 30.