Fans Granted Class Certification in NHL and MLB Blackout Litigation

Excited soccer fans watching tv

On Thursday, May 14, Judge Scheindlin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, granted class certification to the consumers suing the MLB, NHL, and broadcasters over blackout dates and high prices for sports packages. The fans brought their lawsuit back in 2012 against both leagues, individual clubs, Comcast, and DirecTV, claiming that broadcast restrictions violated antitrust law. Those restrictions specifically include territorial blackouts for consumers who purchase large sports packages claiming to carry all games as well as many providers’ requirement that consumers purchase broadcasts of every game instead of select games based on teams. After surviving motions for summary judgment, which would dismiss the claims, the plaintiff fans sought class certification to combine all the lawsuits into one. Judge Scheindlin agreed with the plaintiffs ...
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Deceased NHL Player Suffered From CTE; Family to Sue NHL

iStock_000011935095_Medium-e1431974978755-150x100 On Tuesday, May 12, the Canadian Sports Concussion Project released a report confirming that deceased NHL player, Steve Montador, suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), prompting his family to continue with a lawsuit directed at the National Hockey League. Steve Montador died in February at the age of 35 and had agreed to submit his brain for testing before his early death. Like many other professional athletes who’ve died young and been diagnosed post-mortem with CTE, Montador suffered from depression, erratic behavior, and memory loss before his death. CTE has been linked to the repeated head trauma found in many professional and youth sports like hockey and football. His family has indicated it will continue the lawsuit he began to prepare against the National Hockey League for failing to warn ...
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NFL Concussion Settlement Appealed; Benefits Delayed Again

iStock_000059239362_Full-150x150 The long-awaited settlement between the National Football League and its former players suffering from concussion-related injuries will be further delayed as one player and his wife filed an appeal of the agreed upon and judge-approved settlement on Wednesday, May 13. The settlement, having gone through several negotiations and a prior rejection by Judge Anita Brody, addressed the court’s concerns on monetary limit and was finally approved on April 22. The latest settlement relieves the $675 million cap the NFL set on its contribution to the injured players. It also increased the awards to the former players based on specific injuries and diagnoses. Though agreed upon by an astounding majority (99 percent) of former players, the three and a half year battle wages on, as one player and his wife have ...
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Brady Suspended 4 Games for Role in Deflategate and Obstructing the Investigation

rugby-596747_640 (2) On Monday, May 11, the National Football League punished Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for their roles in the “Deflate Gate” scandal and its subsequent investigation. Relying on the importance of protecting the integrity of the game, the NFL suspended Brady without pay for the first four games for the 2015-2016 season, fined the team one million dollars, and stripped the team of their 2016 first round draft pick and 2017 fourth round draft pick. The punishments come only 5 days after the release of the Ted Wells independent investigation report was released.  Wells spent over 100 days investigating the events leading up to January’s AFC Championship game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots, at which the Patriots’ game balls were found to be deflated below ...
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Deflate-gate Findings Could Mean Discipline for Patriots and Brady

rugby-596747_640 (2) On Wednesday, May 6, independent investigator Ted Wells released the findings of his investigation into the “Deflate-gate” scandal, reporting that “it is more probable than not” that Patriots personnel intentionally violated the rules. During the AFC title game, 11 of the 12 footballs supplied and used by the New England Patriots were tested and found to be under-inflated beyond the league required 12 .5 psi.  When this information was released to the public the following day, accusations and conspiracy theories began to fly.  Many of them were directed at Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady.  He and coach Bill Belichick have denied any knowledge as to the intentional deflation of the footballs from day one.  The NFL launched an investigation headed by Ted Wells. The 243-page Wells report on Deflate gate indicates ...
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Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Pacquiao for Failing to Disclose Injury Before Fight

boxing-555735_640 On Tuesday, May 5, boxing fans brought a class-action lawsuit against Manny Pacquiao and members of his promotion team for failing to disclose a shoulder injury prior to Saturday’s “Fight of the Century” against Floyd Mayweather. The lawsuit was filed by two fans on behalf of “all persons who purchased tickets, purchased the pay per view event or who wagered money on the event.”  The fans claim damages in the amount of $5 million stemming from the conspiracy surrounding Manny Pacquiao’s shoulder injury.  The plaintiffs allege they were victimized by Pacquiao and his promotion company, Top Rank, Inc., as they promoted an “unfair” fight in which Pacquiao was injured from the beginning. An hour after the highest grossing boxing match in history, one of Pacquiao’s promoters claimed he was injured.  ...
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The Combat Sport that Cannot Slip its Own Punches (Part 2 of 2)

boxing-gloves-390432_640 Yesterday we touched on the legal and regulatory controversies in the aftermath of the Manny Pacquiao Floyd Mayweather fight. Today’s post deals with a potential DOJ investigation and lawsuit against a leading manager/advisor in the boxing world. The Al Haymon Situation Sparsely reported during week prior to the “Fight of the Century” was that the Association of Boxing Commissions (the ABC), a non-profit organization that strives to provide a more uniform regulatory framework for boxing and mixed martial arts in North America, called upon the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Al Haymon and “various companies associated with him” for allegedly violating multiple provisions of the Ali Act (15 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq.). The most prominent among the claimed violations is that Haymon, in his somewhat nebulous role as an ...
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The Combat Sport that Cannot Slip its Own Punches (Part 1 of 2)

gloves-538264_640 In What Should Be a Year of Celebration for Professional Boxing, There is Instead Endless Legal and Regulatory Scrutiny of Many of Its Biggest Developments. A few months ago, 2015 looked as if it would be a watershed year for professional boxing in the United States. Undefeated heavyweight contender Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder won a portion of the heavyweight championship and emerged as the first serious American threat in a long time to fellow champion Wladimir Klitschko. Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. and Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao finally signed to face each other in the “Fight of the Century” following five years of on-and-off negotiation and heartbreak for boxing fans. And Al Haymon, the manager/advisor to nearly 200 of professional boxing’s most highly regarded prospects, contenders, and champions launched “Premier Boxing ...
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NCAA Argues Against Class Certification in Scholarship Cap Litigation

rugby-596747_640 (1) On Thursday April 30, the NCAA and a group of the major conferences argued against class certification in the scholarship cap lawsuits, trying to deny their consolidation into one class-action. The lawsuits, brought by former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston and former Clemson football player Martin Jenkins, claim antitrust violations resulting from the current rules the NCAA imposes on the amount in scholarship aid that schools may offer their student-athletes.  The players argue that rules against aid in excess of the cost of attendance limits their ability to market their talent.  The players are seeking class certification to represent all Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball players as well as Bowl Subdivision football players. In order to receive class-certification, the plaintiffs need to show they will fairly and adequately ...
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Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sued by Official Brands over “ThrowUpTheX” Business

at-t-stadium-740537_640 Official Brands, a sports marketing firm that helped to build Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant’s “ThrowUpTheX” brand, filed a lawsuit against Roc Nation, alleging that Roc Nation poached the representation of Bryant from it. According to the court documents filed, Official Brands alleged Bryant requested the company’s vice president, Ryan Toka, to manage his off-field interests that resulted in the two-year contract Bryant signed with Official Brands in 2014. Official Brands claimed that under the agreement it provided “unprecedented services” to build “ThrowUpTheX,” including handling his social media accounts, personal website, providing tickets to Mavericks and Stars games for his family.  It further claimed to have “invested substantial time and money” in developing the brand. Since Bryant switched his agent from Eugene Parker to Roc Nation in November 2014, Roc ...
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