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Lindland v. United States Wrestling Association

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
227 F.3d 1000 (2000)


Matt Lindland (plaintiff) and Keith Sieracki both believed they were entitled to be the U.S. entrant in the 76-kilogram weight class of wrestling at the Olympic Games. The two met twice in matches that determined the Olympic spot. Sieracki won the first match. Lindland protested the results of that match. USA Wrestling (defendant) rejected Lindland’s protest. Lindland then sought arbitration, as he was entitled to do under the Stevens Act. Arbitrator Burns ordered a rematch, which Lindland won. Lindland sought confirmation of Burns’s decision in federal court. The federal court upheld Burns’s decision and the court stated that Lindland was entitled to be USA Wrestling’s nominee to the Olympics. Sieracki initiated another arbitration hearing; that arbitrator, Arbitrator Campbell, directed USA Wrestling to make Sieracki its nominee on the basis of his victory in the first match. USA Wrestling was unwilling to accept the outcome of the second match, and chose Sieracki as its Olympic representative, citing Campbell’s decision. After a writ of mandamus from the federal court requiring USA Wrestling to comply with Burns’s decision, USA Wrestling finally submitted Lindland’s name to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). The USOC, however, refused to accept Lindland as a member of the team. Lindland then returned to federal court, asking the court to again affirm the Burns ruling and compel the USOC to send him to the Olympics. Sieracki argued that because Lindland participated in the hearing with Campbell, Lindland was bound by that decision. The trial court agreed with Lindland. The case was then appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Easterbrook, J.)

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