Future of NFL in St. Louis Appears to be in Court’s Hands

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In March, the NFL announced the league was accelerating its efforts to move an NFL franchise to the Los Angeles market. Stan Kroenke, the St. Louis Ram’s owner, has a $1.86 billion stadium complex planned in Inglewood, California. It is clear that time is of the essence, and Jay Nixon’s two-man stadium task force of Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz need to get their proposed financing for the $985 stadium development in downtown St. Louis finalized and before the NFL owners’ committee as soon as possible. Under the current proposal approximately $350 million would be raised through “bond extension.” The St. Louis Stadium plan hit a potential hurdle on April 6, 2015 when St. Louis University Law Professor John Ammann sent a letter to the St. Louis City Counselor’s Office ...
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NFL Concussion Settlement Objectors Seek Broader Amendments

sporting_lead_t658 On Monday April 14, 2015, a group of former NFL players raised another round of objections in the class action concussion lawsuit against the NFL. The 28 former players who objected to the initial $765 million settlement, contend that an amended settlement is also deficient. The initial settlement was preliminarily approved in July 2014. However, upon the suggestion of Judge Anita B. Brody, in February, the NFL amended the settlement, paying particular attention to coverage for the families of CTE sufferers. The amended settlement now covers deaths that occur between the preliminary approval and final approval. Under the previous settlement, only those diagnosed prior to July 7, 2014 were eligible for benefits. It also extends the grace period for a CTE diagnosis after death to 270 days after final approval. ...
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Lionsgate and Joss Whedon Face $10M Copyright Suit Over “The Cabin in the Woods”

Capture Peter Gallagher, not the actor but an author of a 2006 novel, has filed a lawsuit against Lionsgate and Joss Whedon who produced and co-wrote the 2012 horror movie “The Cabin in the Woods” with Drew Goddard who was also named in the suit. Gallagher in the complaint alleges that Whedon and Goddard stole the idea, plots, characters, and more from his novel “The Little White Trip: A Night in the Pines” without his consent in.  According to Gallagher, he registered the book with the Writers Guild of America in 2007, and a total of 7,5000 copies of the book were published. Gallagher claims that “[c]omparing the Book to the Film, the plots, stories, characters, sequence of events, themes, dialogue, and incidents portrayed in the two works are fictional and, ...
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Antitrust Battle Between MMA Fighters and UFC Continues

Capture On April 10, Mixed Martial Arts (“MMA”) fighters Cung Le, Jon Fitch, and Nate Quarry filed their opposition to UFC’s motion to dismiss the putative class action and to transfer the venue. In the court documents, the fighters argued that UFC’s bid to transfer venue was improper because the suit is alleging antitrust violations, not breach of contract.  In response to the UFC’s argument that the plaintiffs did not specify “how the agreements unreasonably restrain competition,” the plaintiffs simply said, “The UFC is wrong.”  They claimed that the UFC’s scheme to restrain competition in the marketplace enabled it to suppress wages below competitive levels. Further, they argued the exclusionary provisions in the UFC’s contracts with the fighters “impair actual or potential rivals and enhance its monopoly power . . . ...
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Dreyfuss Wants Disney to Open Its Books

Capture On April 9, Richard Dreyfuss filed suit against Walt Disney Pictures claiming that Disney has wrongfully refused him access to its books.  The Oscar winner says he wants to know if Disney owes him money for his work in What About Bob?. In the seven count complaint, Dreyfuss and Turner & Hooch producer Raymond Wagner’s widow contend, among other things, that Disney has breached their contracts by refusing them the opportunity to audit the books.  The pair claims that Disney will not allow the accountants of their choice, Robinson & Company, Inc., to perform the audits because Disney is aware that Robison is particularly aggressive and usually achieves large recoveries for its clients.  In fact, the complaint goes on to contend that Disney will only allow one of the Big ...
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Workers’ Compensation Benefits Granted to Exotic Club Dancer Shot at Club in South Carolina

Capture In a March 18, 2015 decision, the Supreme Court of South Carolina granted workers’ compensation benefits to an exotic dancer who was shot and injured during the course of her work activities. Although the legal conclusion was contested, the facts were not in dispute. Claimant LeAndra Lewis worked as an exotic dancer at multiple establishments in North and South Carolina.  On July 23, 2008, claimant was working at the Boom Boom Room Studio 54 when she was struck by a bullet fired during an altercation, resulting in the loss of a kidney, internal damage, and scarring.  The club where she worked had several rules in place which dancers were required to follow, including the provision of VIP dances at a patron’s request and adherence to schedules and dress codes which, ...
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Former San Diego Chargers Wants $18M For “Lights Out” Trademark Infringement

Capture On April 6, Shawne Merriman, former San Diego Chargers linebacker, filed a motion for summary judgment to ask the judge to resolve the trademark infringement dispute that began last year against Nike over “Lights Out” mark. Claiming the ownership of the mark, Merriman said, “After I was given the nickname ‘Lights Out’ ® in high school, I decided to create a brand while I was at the University of Maryland. From 2002-2005 I sold approximately 2000 t-shirts printed with the Lights Out ® logo and the money helped pay my way through college. I’ve carefully grown and developed that brand ever since, but Nike still insists on using it.” In fact, Merriam registered the nickname in 2007, and in 2010 it achieved incontestable status that affords the highest trademark protection ...
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Former NFL Kicker Sues the Buccaneers

Tynes Lawrence Tynes, two-time Super Bowl winner and the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker has commenced a lawsuit for $20 million. Tynes has alleged that the dirty and unsafe conditions at the Buccaneers facility led him to contract MRSA. This infection ultimately ended his NFL career. Tynes signed with the Buccaneers in 2013, but never played a game. He claims that during training camp he and three other players, including Carl Nicks, contracted MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). He further claims that that Buccaneers leadership did not advise the people using the facility of the outbreak in a poor attempt to cover up the issue. According to Tynes, Buccaneers’ staff failed to advise him of his condition for 8-9 days, when presumably they knew that he had contracted the dangerous infection in his toe. ...
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MGM “Knocks Out” Raging Bull Lawsuit with Settlement

Capture Last year, we reported that the U.S. Supreme Court revived a longstanding copyright infringement lawsuit over the 1980 hit movie “Raging Bull.”  The suit was initially brought in 2009 when Paula Petrella, the daughter of Frank Petrella, alleged that MGM and 20th Century Fox (“MGM”) infringed on her father’s copyrights in a number of works written about the life of boxer Jake LaMotta. Paula first became aware of her right to sue in the early 90’s based on a Supreme Court case related to Alfred Hithcock’s “Rear Window.”   However, it was not until 2009 that Petrella filed suit because of a number of delays including trouble lining up her attorneys.  Initially, MGM was granted summary judgment based on the argument that the suit was barred because of Paula’s length delay.  ...
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Lawsuit Claims Binghamton Mets Agreed to Sale

Capture Main Street Baseball LLC, a baseball team ownership group from Delaware, filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court for the Northern District of New York against the Binghamton Mets claiming breach of contract to sell the team. Main Street Baseball alleges that Binghamton Mets President, Mike Urda, has been trying to sell the team for the past four years and has been negotiating a sale with the Delaware group since last August.  The two parties allegedly negotiated potential sale of the team over the winter of 2014-2015 and agreed to a sale for $8.5 million.  Main Street claims they reached an oral agreement in December and filed a letter of intent in January.  Shortly after, Urda began to back-pedal before ultimately calling it off in March. Mike Urda has publicly ...
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