Is Selling Cubs Merchandise a Crime?

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Stealing bases may be a routine part of baseball, but the Chicago Cubs have made it clear that street vendors stealing merchandise have no part in America’s pastime. On September 22, 2016, Major League Baseball and the Chicago Cubs sued vendors for selling counterfeit merchandise on the streets outside of Wrigley Field. This has been an uplifting season for the Cubs as they are in first place, standing as the top team in all of Major League Baseball. The club’s claim that vendors are “deliberately free riding” on this success and “trading – without a license or permission – on the substantial goodwill associated with the Cubs’ trademarks and trade dress.” Ultimately, the Cubs allege that money-hungry vendors are using the Cubs’ trademarks and color schemes to create and sell merchandise without permission. The ...
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Rams Must Compensate Fans for St. Louis Personal Seat Licenses

iStock_000025414245_XXXLarge On September 21, 2016, U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. ruled that the Los Angeles Rams must compensate some St. Louis Rams personal seat license holders with either a refund or new season tickets. Three different parties have sued the Rams regarding the more than 46,000 people who bought PSLs prior to the team’s departure in January, but in July, the lawsuits were consolidated into one case, although they differ in the type of damages being sought. The suit itself is quite convoluted, as two different PSL agreements are at issue. First, some fans bought their licenses through ticketing agent FANS Inc. when the Rams originally moved to St. Louis in 1995. Second, the Rams themselves began selling PSLs directly under the “Rams agreement.” To further complicate matters, both ...
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Minor League Pitcher Claims Mislabeled Medical Image Hurt His Draft Stock

92258407 On September 19, 2016, a St. Louis Cardinals minor league pitcher filed suit, claiming that due to an error made by a Houston hospital, his draft stock suffered. The pitcher, Pablo Salazar III, originally had been projected as a third-to-eighth round draft pick in 2015; however, he was not actually drafted until the eleventh, a drop that he attributes to the hospital’s error. Three years prior to the 2015 draft, he had an arthroscopic procedure done on his elbow. Salazar’s claim is that the radiological technician incorrectly labeled the images of his right elbow as his right hip. According to the petition, Texas Orthopedic Hospital has admitted that this was an error by the technician, and while problems with a pitcher’s elbow are common, hip issues can be very serious ...
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Scrupulous Scrutinization: GOP Seeks Thorough Review Regarding NFL Grant Controversy

american football game with out of focus players in the background On September 15, 2016, a group of Republicans from the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general, imploring that a “thorough and objective review” from the National Institute of Health is needed into whether the integrity of the process for awarding research grants is being upheld. This letter comes after the NFL was accused of attempting to improperly influence the funding of a scientific study on the degenerative brain condition known as CTE. The lawmakers pointed to a report issued by the committee’s Democratic staff members that claimed the league had “inappropriately attempted to use its unrestricted gift as leverage to steer funding away from one of its critics.” Moreover, the committee’s chairman and other GOP members of ...
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Hand It Over: NCAA to Produce Redacted Broadcasting Agreement With CBS, Turner

Basketball and one hundred dollar bills on wooden court floor On September 16, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins signed a stipulated order to produce redacted versions of the NCAA’s 2010 broadcasting agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting. This 2010 agreement was extended back in April for another eight years for a rights fee of $8.8 billion. This order comes after all five major collegiate athletic conferences similarly agreed to reveal their own television deals. The plaintiff student-athletes have argued that they need the conferences’ broadcasting agreements along with other business documents in their effort to challenge the conferences’ assertions about their member schools’ financial positions and about the importance of amateurism to college sports. In the underlying suit at hand, the student-athletes are challenging the NCAA’s rules that prevent universities from paying college athletes more than “grant-in-aid,” ...
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Are Rates at Vegas Hotels Rising to Pay for Local NFL Stadium?

iStock_000050248618_Full The proposal to bring an NFL stadium to Las Vegas is no surprise; however, the fact that some of the funding for this $1.9 billion project is expected to come from the public may be shocking to some. In March 2016, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee proposed a plan to bring a NFL stadium near the Las Vegas Strip. The proposal initially suggested that over $700 million for the project come from public funding. As a result, the committee recently voted in favor of a plan to increase hotel room taxes in Las Vegas to help pay for the proposed stadium. Under the current development plan for this 65,000-seat stadium, about $750 million needs to be paid by the public. It has been rumored that the Vegas stadium may ...
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Daily Fantasy Sports Companies Investing Big Money in Lobbying

Fantasy Letterpress After the first two weeks of NFL football in 2016, once thing is apparent; there are far fewer commercials advertising for daily fantasy sports. The decline in the advertising of daily fantasy sports companies makes sense given the rising costs other factors associated with the legality of these sites. FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc., the largest daily fantasy players, are fighting for their existence on a state-by-state basis. Daily fantasy sports companies are pushing to be classified as a “game of skill” instead of a “game of chance” to be exempt from state gaming laws. Money once used on advertising is now being allocated to lawyers and lobbyists in an attempt to influence law and policy makers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association is spearheading ...
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Fans Sue Golden State Warriors for Mobile Eavesdropping

iStock_000066108429_XXXLarge Golden State Warrior fans filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against the team and the companies who developed the team’s mobile app. The plaintiffs allege that the app unlawfully records audio from the microphone without user notification or permission, and that while the app is marketed for providing live stats, scores, and standings, it also tracks users through audio-based beacon technology for the purpose of marketing and advertising. The app determines a user’s precise physical location by secretly activating the user’s smartphone’s built-in microphone and listening for nearby audio beacons. With the microphone activated, the app listens to and records all audio within range, including conversations. If the app hears one of the beacons, the app may display an ad to the user. The app instantly turns on ...
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Knockout: NFL Commits $100M to Concussion Initiative

US Currency: Stack of fifty dollar bills on scattered bills, close-up On September 14, 2016, the NFL announced a new initiative that targets the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of head injuries. As a part of this initiative, Roger Goodell explained that the league and its 32 owners will devote $60 million toward developing technology that will help player safety, such as improved helmets. The league will also provide $40 million over the next five years towards funding medical research, primarily dealing with neuroscience, or the ultimate effects of the head injuries. This initiative, labeled as the “Play Smart. Play Safe.” initiative, will look to improve on the recent progress the NFL has made on the health and safety of its players, according to Goodell in his open letter. He went on to explain that the NFL’s intention is to provide better ...
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Going for the Sack: ESPN Argues that Jason Pierre-Paul Authorized Release of Medical Records

lawsuit On September 12, 2016, ESPN and Adam Schefter filed an answer in Jason Pierre-Paul’s invasion of privacy lawsuit, claiming that the suit should be dismissed due to the fact that Pierre-Paul agreed to let his medical records go public. This is not the first time ESPN and Schefter have attempted to dismiss this case — back in May, ESPN claimed that dismissal was warranted under First Amendment protections for matters of public interest. In the answer, ESPN and Schefter raise several affirmative defenses, two of which being that they were in fact authorized to disclose the medical records. First, they argue that the claims are barred by the doctrine of estoppel because he authorized the publication of the records. Second, they argue that under the doctrine of waiver, he authorized ...
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