Ice Cube’s Big3 Basketball League Counters Rival with Defamation Suit

On September 15, 2017, Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 professional basketball league, Big3 Basketball, filed its own lawsuit against rival league, Champions League Inc. for allegedly falsely telling investors that Big3 stole its players. Big3’s suit is in response to Champions League filing a lawsuit earlier in the month that claimed Big3 caused its failure to launch. Both companies are based on a similar business model of featuring retired NBA players. Champions League sued Big3 for $250 million in damages for breaching agreements that allowed players to play in both leagues. In its suit, Champions League claimed it had to postpone its season, which was set to start on August 23, because eight of the 10 starting players for the New York and Los Angeles rosters were blocked by Big3. Champions League ...
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Reebok CCM Contests Sanction Fees from Startup Hockey-Helmet Design Company

In September of 2015, Hefter Impact Technologies LLC filed suit against Reebok-CCM Hockey alleging that Reebok contractually owed royalties on CCM helmets that were derivative of Hefter designs. Hefter is a startup hockey-helmet design company, and it asserts that it has an existing royalty agreement after CCM used Hefter’s outer shell design on a popular hockey helmet. Hefter now alleges that CCM owes it royalties on later helmet models that are also based on its outer shell design. These helmets are so popular that they are worn by a third of all NHL players. In January of 2017, Hefter brought a sanctions motion arguing that CCM employees disregarded a litigation memo hold and destroyed emails, attachments, and contents of a product manager’s laptop computer with hard copy files. In August, ...
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Tattoo Copyright Holder Argues Video Game Depiction is Not Fair Use

On September 12, 2017, Solid Oak Sketches LLC opposed game maker Take-Two Interactive’s, motion for judgment in its favor in suit over video game NBA 2K’s depiction of players’ tattoos. Solid Oak purchased the copyrights from tattoo artists for several basketball stars. Solid Oak filed suit last year alleging the infringement of its copyrights for eight different designs that were etched on LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and others. Along with the suit, Solid Oak offered to let Take-Two use the tattoos in the game for the year in exchange for $819,000, or perpetually for $1.14 million. In August, Take-Two requested the court to throw out the case, claiming that its use of the tattoos in the game was protected by the fair use doctrine or was too trivial to litigate. ...
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Former NHL Enforcer Michael Peluso Goes After His Old Teams for Millions in Head Injury Suit

Back in April, Michael Peluso, former NHL “enforcer,” filed suit against the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, and the team’s insurance companies for intentionally hiding the dangers he faced from continued head injuries arguing that his claims fall outside of workers’ compensation. He argues that a newly discovered medical report shows that the teams knew of the risks of further head injuries, but kept putting him back on the ice. Peluso specifically alleges that the teams serious breaches of legal duties led to him suffering through nine grand mal seizures, early onset dementia, and severe neurological and psychological impairment. His complaint states that he has already spent more than $100,000 on medical bills and speculates his medical care will exceed $10 million over the course of his lifetime. He ...
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Ezekiel Elliott Will Stay on the Field for Now

U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant ruled on Monday, September 18, 2017, that Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension will remain on hold, allowing Elliot to continue to play. Judge Mazzant, the same judge who originally granted the preliminary injunction freezing the suspension, has held the injunction will remain in place because the “NFL deprived the NFLPA the right to present…any evidence relevant to the [arbitration] hearing.” Mazzant wrote that “the court still has a role to play in reviewing arbitral awards coming from labor disputes to ensure employees get a fundamentally fair hearing.” Elliot’s accuser did not testify at the arbitration hearing, but an NFL investigator had determined her domestic violence allegations were not credible. Mazzant took issue with how it appeared that the NFL tried to suppress ...
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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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Will the NFL be Able to Enforce Ezekiel Elliott’s Six-Game Suspension this Season?

The battle between the NFL and Dallas Cowboys running back, Ezekiel Elliott, continues. The NFL has now filed an emergency stay demand with the Fifth Circuit to make Elliott serve his six-game domestic violence suspension this season, following a warning the NFL made to Texas Federal Judge Amos Mazzant if he did not rule on the NFL’s stay bid by the end of Thursday. Judge Mazzant put Elliott’s suspension on hold after he found Elliott’s arbitration process was fundamentally unfair. The league is now arguing that the court does not have jurisdiction since Elliott and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) filed suit before a decision was reached in the arbitration process. The NFL argued that filing before the arbitration decision was “a blatant effort to obtain ‘first-filed’ status ...
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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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