Class Actions v. DraftKings, FanDuel to be Consolidated in Massachusetts

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Following the alleged October 2015 insider trading scandal involving daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry giants DraftKings, Inc. and FanDuel, Inc., a slew of consumer-based class actions were filed against the two companies. In December 2015, DraftKings and FanDuel agreed with the plaintiffs that the cases should be consolidated in a single jurisdiction. Both companies argued before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation that the consolidation should occur within the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, where DraftKings is headquartered. The Panel ultimately agreed with DraftKings and FanDuel, ordering that the cases be consolidated in Massachusetts. The Panel supported its decision in stating that a “significant number of related actions that encompass all three theories of liability are pending in the [Massachusetts] district.” It was additionally noted that the Mass. forum is ...
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Insurers Refute Defense Obligations in Sports Memorabilia IP Claims

COPYRIGHT On January 29, 2015, insurers West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. and Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co., told a Wisconsin federal court that they are not liable to defend sports memorabilia retailers, Waukesha Sportscards and AW Artworks LLC, in a copyright suit alleging that the retailers sold merchandise featuring unlicensed photographs. The insurers argued that their policies cover copyright in advertisement claims but do not extend to the copyright infringement issues addressed in the action. The infringement suit against the retailers was initially filed back in June by two photographers — Scott Boehm and David Stulka. The photographers alleged that several retailers were selling items featuring their photographs without permission or a license to do so. The insurers, who intervened in the action brought against the two retailers, filed individual motions for summary judgment ...
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Judge Rules Baseball Game Reports Must be Turned Over

iStock_000014002689_Full On Friday, January 29, 2016, California District Judge Joseph Spero ordered Major League Baseball to disclose game reports in minor leaguers’ proposed class action suit. The players have alleged that the MLB conspired with its 30 member teams to suppress the wages they earned. The players sought access to the game reports to show the MLB did not keep formal time records of when they worked. In response, the league argued the game reports would not be able to prove anything and therefore had no probative value — an argument Judge Spero refused to buy. The MLB further tried to support its position that the reports needn’t be turned over by arguing they contained sensitive and confidential information. However, because they are only going to be viewed by the players’ attorneys, ...
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Indiana Bill to Legalize Daily Fantasy Sports Passes in State Senate

iStock_000074401387_Medium A bill to expressly legalize daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Indiana was passed by the state Senate on February 3, 2016. The bill was passed with ease, and it will now move before the Indiana House of Representatives, where it must survive another voting round before becoming official law. The Indiana bill follows an alleged September 2015 insider trading scandal between DFS industry leaders DraftKings, Inc. and FanDuel, Inc. The scandal sparked a national debate questioning the legality of online DFS betting. Under the definitions of “unlawful gambling” within current state statutes, DFS is arguably illegal; many states hold as unlawful gambling any activity in which chance outweighs the skill employed by the bettor. However, many states, such as Indiana, are considering the creation of legislation that expressly permits DFS ...
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Criminal Case Against Bill Cosby Moves Forward

On February 3, 2016, in Norristown Pennsylvania, a judge denied Bill Cosby’s motion to dismiss criminal charges against him. The newly elected Montgomery County District Attorney, Kevin Steele, has filed three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault based upon the allegations from Andrea Constand. She claims she was sexually assaulted by Cosby in 2004. If Cosby is convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison and along with civil fines in State of Pennsylvania. The motion to dismiss is based upon former District Attorney Bruce Castor’s verbally immunity given to Cosby in 2005. Castor admitted that made a decision over ten years ago not prosecute Cosby, if he would speak freely during the civil deposition in the Constand case. Cosby has relied upon this immunity to his own ...
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Retired Players Urge Court to Continue Discovery in NHL Concussion Suit

iStock_000023508896_Large On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, former hockey players in the multidistrict litigation concussion suit filed a memorandum in opposition to the NHL’s motion to stay discovery. The league’s motion was filed in January, seeking a stay until its 2014 motion to dismiss is ruled on, arguing it has complied with all discovery requests and spent millions of dollars in what may potentially end up being extraneous spending if the suit is tossed. Players are arguing that the NHL’s sudden attempt at halting discovery is nothing more than a vain showing of misplaced strategy, saying that if the NHL really wanted discovery to be prevented during this period, then it should have filed a request motion concomitantly with its motion to dismiss. The ex-NHLers also allege that up to this point, it ...
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NFL Sunday Ticket Litigation: Fans Want the Suit Back in State Court

iStock_000015987392_Large On Friday, January 29, 2016, plaintiffs involved in a suit over Direct TV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package urged a California federal court to remand the case, which alleges violations of California law, back to state court. The putative class action was initially filed by Robert Gary Lippincott Jr. in Sonoma County Superior Court back in October. Lippincott’s complaint alleged that contracts for Direct TV’s Sunday Ticket Package are void under California law as illegal contracts including “unconscionable provisions.” Specifically, Lippincott brought claims for unconscionability in violation of the California Legal Remedies Act, unfair pricing in violation of the California Unfair Competition Law, and unjust enrichment under California common law. In November, the suit was removed from state court to federal court and consolidated into a multi-district antitrust litigation, centralizing more ...
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Judge Denies Vikings’ Request for Preliminary Injunction in Advertising Suit

iStock_000070679509_XXXLarge On January 28, 2016, U.S. District Judge Donovan W. Frank denied the Minnesota Vikings’ request for a preliminary injunction to prevent Wells Fargo from building two large illuminated signs near the teams future new home — U.S. Bank Stadium. Last month, Minnesota Vikings Football Stadium, LLC (MVFS) — a team affiliate responsible for the construction and promotion of U.S. Bank Stadium — filed suit against Wells Fargo over two illuminated rooftop signs which the company alleges are in violation of a 2014 signage agreement between the parties. After Wells Fargo moved its headquarters near the Vikings stadium site, the parties entered into a signage agreement which limited the banks use of rooftop advertisements to 56-by-56 foot painted logos. However, MVFS brought suit in December after Wells Fargo began construction on ...
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Daily Fantasy Sports Payment Processor Vantiv Entertainment Cuts Ties with Industry

Fantasy Letterpress Daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry giant DraftKings, Inc. has acknowledged a recent report that Vantiv Entertainment Solutions, one of the company’s payment processors, is cutting ties. The report was made by the New York Times on January 29, 2016. Vantiv not only provides payment processing for DraftKings but also for a number of DFS companies, including FanDuel, Inc., DraftKings’ leading competitor. Vantiv plans to end its business with all DFS clients by February 29, 2016. The processing company’s decision to cut ties with DFS is related to the legal firestorm surrounding the gambling activity. In September 2015, DraftKings and FanDuel were accused of engaging in insider trading activities. Following the accusations, DFS business operations have faced challenges and scrutiny under the laws of many states. If a gambling activity is ...
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Chargers to Remain in San Diego for 2016 Season

iStock_000040776972_Large On Friday, January 29, 2016, the San Diego Chargers made two important announcements: (1) the franchise reached an agreement in principle with the now “Los Angeles Rams” to share the Inglewood stadium project, creating a route for a Los Angeles move; and (2) the franchise will be staying in San Diego for the 2016, committing to a possible solution for a stadium that keeps the team in San Diego long-term. Last year, Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased a 60-acre tract of land in Inglewood, an L.A. suburb. Although not large enough on its own, the land is adjacent to a 238-acre site owned by Stockbridge Capital Group. Stockbridge already has approved plans to build a mixed used community called Hollywood Park. According to reports, those plans may be amended to ...
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