Will President Trump Change the Course of Sports Betting in the United States?

Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court chose not to strike down New Jersey’s challenge to the federal ban on sport betting, but rather called upon President Donald Trump and his administration to opine on the controversial issue. This decision comes after New Jersey’s multi-year long fight to convince the federal government to end its ban on sport betting, in order to benefit New Jersey’s struggling casinos and racetracks. As background, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) has prohibited most states from authorizing sports betting, except for a few grandfathered states (including Nevada). After being blocked by the PASPA for nearly 25 years, New Jersey attempted to repeal its sports betting restriction at all of its casinos and racetracks — an attempt to bypass the PASPA’s prohibitions. ...
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NFL Painkiller Lawsuit Dismissed

California Federal District Court Judge William Alsup dismissed in part a class-action lawsuit filed by former NFL players who alleged teams forced players to ingest painkillers in order to keep them on the field regardless of the health risks posed and the potential long-term consequences. The complaint, filed against all 32 teams of the NFL, stated the teams’ main goal was to mask pain and conceal injuries. In July 2016, Judge Alsup refused to dismiss the lawsuit, despite the NFL’s protestations that the claims were barred by statutes of limitation. Judge Alsup, however, rejected the players’ Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claims finding they were untimely and unsupported by facts. In his February 3, 2017 ruling, Judge Alsup stated that to prevail in a RICO claim, the players ...
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NLRB Opens its Doors to Protect College Football Players as Employees

On January 31, 2017, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) released a memo which stated it believed football players at private colleges qualify as employees. The Board declined to answer this question in 2015 when they dismissed a unionization effort by players at Northwestern University, citing concerns of instability if such a decision was rendered that only pertained to private universities. However, a recent decision by the NLRB that found in favor of graduate teaching assistants challenging their status as employees led general counsel to the conclusion that there was no reason football players at private universities should not be considered employees as well. NLRB general counsel Richard Griffin authored the memorandum, which stated “scholarship football players should be protected by Section 7 [of ...
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Paul McCartney Seeks to Terminate Sony’s Copyright Interests in Legendary Beatles’ Tracks

Paul McCartney has commenced a full-out mission to re-acquire complete ownership of the copyright interests in the Beatles’ songs Sony acquired rights to 50 years ago. On January 11, 2016, McCartney sought confirmation from a New York federal judge on that he will not face breach of contract liability in the process. McCartney filed termination notices in 2008 pursuant to a provision in the Copyright Act, which affords song-makers whose songs were made prior to 1978 the right to terminate copyright licenses and assignments after 56 years from the date of the original copyright. The notice thus seeks to place the songs McCartney and John Lennon collaborated on in the 60s and 70s back under his complete control as of 2018. Sony hasn’t exactly comforted McCartney with assurance that his ...
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NHL’s Subpoena Requests Regarding CTE: Valid Production Request or Invasion of Privacy?

Beginning in September, 2015 the National Hockey League issued subpoenas to two doctors at Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center (Boston CTE) in order to compel production of the center’s research related to the league’s concussion litigation. In October 2017, the NHL issued another subpoena, seeking information regarding Lazarus Zeidel — who was added as a named plaintiff in the concussion lawsuit against the league after being diagnosed with CTE in a post-mortem analysis of his brain. While the league argued that the request was made on a need for additional information regarding Zeidel, Boston CTE maintains that the request “goes far beyond that. . . and is asking for information and documental related to all aspects of the center’s work on the disease.” Further, the university alleged that “[i]n ...
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NHL’s Proffered Expert in Concussion Litigation Attacks Dr. Bennet Omalu’s CTE Findings; Omalu Says No Room for Debate

The controversial discourse around high-contact sports and their potential link to permanent brain damage in professional athletes is coming to a head again. This time, it comes after the director of the Center for Neuropathology at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, Rudolph J. Castellani, told a federal court that neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu’s medical conclusions regarding the potential link were inaccurate. Dr. Omalu, notoriously known for his research and findings on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition often found in deceased football players, has been an instrumental advocate for the former NHL players who have filed a multidistrict suit against the NHL in Minnesota federal court by offering his medical research findings as evidence of the link between high contact sports and the disease. The ...
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Author Looks to Thaw Adverse Copyright Ruling Related to Disney’s Frozen

Muneefa Abdullah, a Kuwaiti children’s author, has appealed a District Court’s recent decision denying the author’s copyright suit against Disney, claiming that the District Court judge failed to see the substantial similarities between her 2007 story “The Snow Princess” and Disney’s megahit Frozen. Abdullah sued the entertainment company in 2015 for copyright infringement, alleging that Walt Disney Studios motion pictures and Frozen screenwriter Jennifer Lee stole plot points, characters, and themes from her story. Last month, Judge Wilson of the Central District of California, dismissed the suit finding no substantial similarities and noting both the film and Abdullah’s story “depict clear influences by and similarities to Hans Christian Andersen’s classic 1845 fairy tale, ‘The Snow Queen.’” Abdullah is now asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the District ...
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NFL Players Union Argues No Breach of Collective Bargaining Agreement on Player’s 10-Game Drug Suspension

Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle, was hit with a 10-game drug suspension last season for the alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. In response, Johnson filed suit last month against the NFL Players Association, arguing that the Union’s inactions caused his suspension. Specifically, Johnson sued the NFL and the Players Union for allegedly failing to follow the collective bargaining agreement and the collectively bargained NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances in punishing him with a 10-game suspension. After raising jurisdictional issues and determining that an Ohio federal court was an improper jurisdiction for the case, the NFLPA sought the dismissal of Johnson’s suit. In a dismissal bid, the Union stated that Johnson’s suspension was upheld during arbitration, as he admitted using banned performance-enhancing substances in violation of the league’s Performance ...
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Is a Football Player’s Concussion an Intentional Injury? Arena Football Says No, Moves for Dismissal of Player’s Concussion Lawsuit

Lorenzo Breland, a former player for Arena Football One LLC’s Tulsa Talons and New Orleans Voodoo, sued Arena Football for concussion-related injuries that he sustained during his time in the league. Throughout his four years playing for Arena Football, Breland suffered two alleged concussions, the first one in 2011 and the second one in 2014 — ending his career. Breland sued the league for fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, negligence, and negligent misrepresentation. In response, Arena Football filed a motion for quick judgment, maintaining that Breland’s recovery was limited to the remedies available under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act. Breland argued that Louisiana’s Workers’ Compensation Act did not limit his recovery because the league’s intentional acts contributed to his injuries. As support, Breland alleged that Arena Football failed to provide him with ...
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Professional Soccer Expansion in North Carolina

Soccer in North Carolina is growing. On December 6, 2016, the Carolina Railhawks, currently part of the North American Soccer League, rebranded to North Carolina FC and announced their plans to potentially move into MLS within 18 months. On January 31, 2017, North Carolina FC officially submitted their bid to join MLS. The Raleigh-Durham area is one of 10 finalist markets for MLS expansion. In order to facilitate a successful transition to MLS, Steve Malik, the owner of North Carolina FC, has been working on securing a location in the Triangle for a suitable stadium. Malik has indicated that he will fund the construction of the stadium, but will be seeking public support for infrastructure related to the stadium. It has been reported that the cost of a new 24,000 ...
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