Seventh Circuit Hears Arguments from Rooftop Owners over Cubs Blocking Stadium Sight Lines

The ongoing legal battle between the Chicago Cubs and the owners of the iconic rooftops near Wrigley Field entered extra innings on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. The two teams fielded their heavy hitters for arguments in front of the Seventh Circuit over whether the Cubs broke a contractual duty in blocking the stadium sight lines from the rooftops. In 2004, both sides agreed to a 20-year contract in which the Cubs would not block for obstruct the views from the roofs and each rooftop owner would share 17 percent of the rooftop’s gross revenue. Two previous attempts by the owners to block the Cubs renovations struck out in the early stages of litigation. The first attempt, in 2014, was dismissed since the Supreme Court has ruled Major League Baseball is ...
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Forward Progress: Personal Injury Suits against Helmet Maker Moving Forward

After a delay and the conclusion of the NFL concussion litigation, the 95 personal injury suits against Riddell, the former official helmet supplier for the NFL, are moving forward. On May 18, 2017, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, a Pennsylvania federal court judge, issued a scheduling order for the claims against Riddell. Some of these suits were initially brought in 2012 and were later separated from the multidistrict concussion suit filed by ex-NFL players or their families. A suit against Riddell by NCAA football players was dismissed in 2016 because the complaint failed to show the helmets had any manufacturing defects. However, the former NFL players are claiming Riddell failed to warn players of multiple head injuries leading to long-term brain damage even if Riddell’s helmets were properly worn. The ...
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The Not-So Big Easy: Louisiana District Judge Limits AFL Player to Workers’ Compensation for Concussion Injuries

On May 10, 2017, Judge Fallon of the Eastern District of Louisiana held that Lorenzo Breland, a professional arena football player suffering from alleged concussions, was limited to pursing relief through a workers’ compensation claim. As such, the player was barred from pursuing his intentional tort claims against Arena Football One, LLC (the AFO), which owns both the Arena Football League One, LLC and Louisiana Arena Football, LLC. In originating this lawsuit, Breland asserted that he suffered multiple concussions while playing for the New Orleans Voodoo in 2014. He brought claims of misrepresentation, fraud, negligence, and breach of contract, essentially arguing that the AFO knew of the potential risks associated with head trauma, intentionally concealed these risks, and fostered an environment of brutality while ignoring the wellbeing of its players ...
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Boston University Calls NHL’s Subpoena Unjustified; Seeks Reimbursement of Legal Fees

Boston University has filed a motion in Minnesota federal court asking the court to order the National Hockey League to reimburse the university for $119,704 in attorneys’ fees and costs. The NHL is currently embroiled in a proposed class action suit involving the claims of former players that the NHL failed to warn the players about the risks of head injuries and concussions. One of the potential groups of members includes players diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Boston University is not a party to the current suit. However, Boston University is one of a number of institutions that operates a CTE research center. Research involving CTE is performed on brains donated by individuals after they are deceased. The Boston University CTE Center has data relating to around four hundred ...
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Power Play: Former NHL Players Shoot for Stay of Deadlines and Bellwethers in NHL Concussion Lawsuit

On May 5, 2017, former National Hockey League players currently engaged in the concussion lawsuit submitted a letter requesting a stay of all deadlines surrounding their bid for class certification. This letter was drafted per an instruction from U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, who ordered both parties to confer and simultaneously send letters outlining their positions. In the letter, the players indicate it would be impracticable to be expected to depose the NHL’s 19 experts, oppose five expert motions in limine, obtain rebuttal expert declaration from their own experts, and reply to the NHL’s 96-page opposition brief by the current deadline of June 29, 2017. At the same time and in an effort to keep the litigation advancing forward, the former players’ suggest that the two parties prepare and ...
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There’s a Doctor in the House: Two Groups of Medical Experts Approved by District Judge in NFL Concussion Settlement

On May 4, 2017, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody approved two groups of medical experts in the NFL concussion settlement. These experts will lead the testing and diagnosing of players in the class to determine whether each member has a neurological condition which will qualify them for recovery under the terms of the settlement. A list comprised of these experts was submitted last month. Per the Approval signed by Judge Brody, the two panels of experts for this Settlement Program are the Appeals Advisory Panel (the AAP) and the Appeals Advisory Panel Consultants (the AAPC). The AAP is to be comprised of five board-certified medical experts who will: (1) review certain Qualifying Diagnoses made prior to the Settlement’s effective date; (2) handle disputes when a retired player’s medical provider and ...
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Professional Gamers Scheduled to Participate in NBA Esports League

Two months ago, esports league and Take-Two Interactive announced they were creating a competitive esports league centered on Take-Two’s popular NBA 2k video game. Since that announcement, 17 NBA teams have agreed that they would participate in the NBA 2k esports league’s inaugural season, which is set to debut in 2018. The creation of the league is notable in that it will be the first esports league that is run by a U.S. professional sports organization. Currently, the season is set to debut with esports teams from the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, and Washington Wizards. Each team will have ...
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Will NFL Players Begin Wearing Tech on Uniforms?

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) stated that its newly unveiled business accelerator has entered into an agreement with Whoop Inc., which will provide players with fitness tracking devices that they can wear. Notably, the deals allows players to retain ownership of the data they collect. As background, OneTeam Collective, a business incubator launched by the players union in December to help emerging sports-related companies grow by leveraging the licensing rights and advice of pro athletes. According to the NFLPA, the deal ensures that all NFL players, whether current or incoming, will receive a device to track their strain, recovery and sleep. Subsequently, the data will then be transmitted to Whoop’s web-based apps. Under the agreement, NFL players are presented with the opportunity to design custom licensed bands for ...
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Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Former-NCAA Champions’ Likeness Suit

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of the lawsuit of two former college basketball players against a website that sold official NCAA photos, as the website’s rights under federal copyright law preempted the players’ publicity rights. As background, two former Division III college basketball players, Patrick Maloney and Tim Judge, sued T3Media in June, 2014 regarding the Website’s deal with the NCAA to host and license the League’s photos. Maloney and Judge were part of the 2001 NCAA championship team — Catholic University. Pursuant to the agreement, the T3Media sold digital copies of the copyrighted photos on its website. The photos included images from the 2001 championship games, and T3Media was issued both commercial- and personal-use-licenses. In their suit, the former players accused T3Media of violating and depriving them ...
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Another Sports Concussion Suit: NHL Enforcer Sues Various NHL Teams and Insurer

Mike Peluso, a former NHL enforcer, slapped the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, and an insurer with a lawsuit, is maintaining that a “newly discovered” medical report proves the teams were aware of the risks associated with head injuries, and nevertheless, continued to encourage him to play and fight. According to Peluso, he has played in over 450 games as an enforcer — a position with the primary purpose of agitating opponents and getting into fights in order to shield the skilled players — and the various teams and insurer knew about the long-term risks that would arise if he suffered from a heady injury, but hid those risks from him. Essentially, his argument centered on the idea that the teams knew he was at a greater risk of ...
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