Ninth Circuit Refuses Reconsideration of NCAA No-Felons Rule

On September 11, 2017, the Ninth Circuit refused to reconsider its ruling that the NCAA could continue its policy excluding convicted felons from coaching in NCAA youth basketball tournaments. The denial of reconsideration stems from a lawsuit brought by Dominic Hardie, a youth basketball coach, who had a drug-related felony from 2001. Hardie sued the NCAA in February 2013 claiming that the NCAA had abandoned a policy that forgave nonviolent felonies after seven years. According to Hardie’s brief, African-Americans are more than three times as likely as white Americans to have felony convictions. The current NCAA policy bars felons from coaching in sanctioned tournaments, which Hardie claimed was intended to discriminate against African-American coaches in violation of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Hardie also claimed the ...
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NFL Players’ Counsel Demand Answers from Attorney in Concussion Suit for Alleged Misrepresentations

On September 12, 2017, class counsel for former NFL players in the concussion suit against the NFL stated that an attorney made communications about the settlement program to class members that may have resulted in them taking action against their self-interest. The suit against the NFL for negligently handling the relationship between Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and repeated head trauma sustained by the former players’ profession resulted in a settlement that was approved in April 2015. The settlement could result in paying out more than $1 billion from the bottomless fund over 65 years. An anonymous class member, referred to as John Doe, contacted the class counsel in August and sent them documents concerning the misrepresentations. Doe had retained attorney Tim Howard of Howard & Associates to represent him in ...
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Charles Oakley Sues Knicks Owner for Madison Square Ejection

On September 12, 2017, Charles Oakley, former power forward for the New York Knicks in the 1980s and 1990s, sued Knicks owner, James Dolan, for allegedly humiliating him when he was kicked out of Madison Square Garden and labeled an alcoholic. Also named in the suit are Madison Square Garden Co. and other related entities. On February 8, 2017, Oakley was kicked out of a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, which Oakley alleged was for no good reason. Security guards told Oakley to leave the stadium, and when Oakley refused to leave, the guards threw him to the ground and then escorted him out of the building. Oakley was charged with assault, harassment, and trespassing after the incident. In response to the charges, Oakley agreed to a plea deal ...
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DraftKings and FanDuel Agree to Pay $2.6 Million to End Massachusetts Attorney General Investigation

On September 7, 2017, DraftKings and FanDuel, two daily fantasy sports platforms, agreed to pay $2.6 million to settle the Massachusetts investigation into their unfair and deceptive practices. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office did not state what the violations were, but the fines are the result of a 2015 investigation into the two companies’ business operations. In its 2015 investigation the Attorney General’s Office noted that consumers did not have adequate protections from the websites’ operators and more regulation was needed. This led to the enactment of Massachusetts’ consumer protection regulations concerning daily fantasy sports in July 2016. The regulations included restrictions such as, a minimum age of 21 for players, prohibiting extending lines of credit, a $1,000 per month deposit limit, and creating beginner contests to exclude professional or ...
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Legal Battle Between the NFL and Ezekiel Elliott Continues

The court battle between the NFL and the NFLPA over Dallas Cowboy running back, Ezekiel Elliott’s, six-game domestic violence suspension continues when the League appealed the preliminary injunction that was awarded to Elliott on Friday, September 8, 2017. U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant issued the preliminary injunction which would not let the NFL enforce Elliott’s suspension until the case went through the court system. Mazzant wrote, “based upon the preliminary injunction standard, the Court finds, that Elliott did not receive a fundamentally fair hearing, necessitating the Court to grant the request for preliminary injunction.” Of course the injunction came in time for Football Sunday where the Dallas Cowboys faced the New York Giants, and the Cowboys came out with the win. There would be huge consequences if the Fifth Circuit, ...
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NFL Tries Again to Enforce Ezekiel Elliot’s Suspension Before Another Football Sunday

The NFL is attempting to quicken its appeal process of a federal judge’s injunction that reversed Dallas Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliot’s six-game domestic violence suspension. Last week, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant issued a preliminary injunction to stop Elliot’s suspension, holding that his labor arbitration was fundamentally unfair. The NFL then immediately appealed that ruling to the Fifth Circuit and asked Judge Mazzant for an emergency stay of the preliminary injunction. In this response, the NFL told Judge Mazzant it would quickly immediately go to the Fifth Circuit if he didn’t rule on its request for a stay by Thursday, September 14, 2017. NFL attorneys wrote in their response “if this court declines to grant relief, respondents intent to seek a stay from the Court of Appeals and believe ...
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Conor McGregor Taking a Hard Hit; Sued Over Out of Control Press Conference

UFC star Conor McGregor is being sued by a man who alleges he suffered injuries during a UFC press conference last year in Las Vegas. The man claims he was hit in the back by a can of a Monster Energy that McGregor threw during the UFC 202 pre-fight press conference in August 2016. At this conference, McGregor and Nate Diaz got into a fight that involved objects being thrown all around the MGM Grand’s David Copperfield Theater. During the fight, McGregor started throwing water bottles and one energy drink can toward Diaz and his team. After this incident, McGregor was fined $25,000 and given 25 hours of community service by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Diaz was fined $15,000 and given 15 hours of community service for his role ...
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Fight for Legal Fees Begins in $209 Million Student-Athlete vs. NCAA Settlement

On Wednesday September 6, 2017, plaintiff’s lawyers in a class-action antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, which settled for $208.7 million, filed for nearly $45 million in legal fees and costs. More than $41 million of that amount would cover attorney’s fees, $3.2 million would cover costs and expenses, and $20,000 each would go as a reward to the four class representatives. The overall fee request would make up only 21.5 percent of the settlement. The lawyers argue the fee request is adequate considering the Ninth Circuit’s 25 percent fee benchmark, the risk the lawyers took in not receiving any compensation, and the enormous amount of work that went into the litigation. Discovery resulted in over 2.8 million pages of documents, and more than 50 depositions were conducted. The deal is ...
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Suit Claiming Daily Fantasy Sports Law is Unconstitutional Continues

A group of citizens’ suit against the New York Attorney General and New York Gambling Commission was allowed to continue after a New York Judge denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case. The plaintiffs, a group that claims they are victims of gambling and are opposed to the proliferation of gambling, claimed the law legalizing daily fantasy sports is in violation of New York State’s constitutional prohibition on gambling expansion. The group of citizens claimed that the law allowing daily fantasy sports to be considered games of skill instead of gambling is not an easily drawn distinction. The citizens claimed that although there is some skill involved in picking a roster, the outcome is based on chance. The defendants moved to dismiss the case because they claimed the state ...
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Game Developer Moves to Transfer Trademark Suit Outside of NCAA Home Ground

On August 31, 2017, defendant Kizzang LLC, a game developer, filed a motion in its case against the NCAA to either move the case from the Indiana Federal Court or dismiss it for lack of jurisdiction and venue. The suit stems from the allegations that Kizzang infringed on the NCAA’s trademarks, “March Madness” and “Final Four.” Kizzang claimed the NCAA filed the suit in the Indiana Federal Court only out of convenience and that none of its allegations included any direct contact with the state. Instead, Kizzang, and owner Robert Alexander, moved to dismiss the case for this reason or to move the case to Nevada, where Alexander lives and where the company is registered. The Indiana Federal Court is convenient for the NCAA because its principal place of business ...
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