Author Archives: Joseph M. Hanna

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Louisville Response to NCAA Allegations Attempts to Shield Pitino

On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, the University of Louisville released its response to the NCAA after receiving a Notice of Allegations that criticized Rick Pitino for failing to monitor his former assistant and director of basketball operations, Andrew McGee. In 2015, a tell-all book titled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” publicly accused McGee of paying for strippers to attend parties in the dorms of players and recruits from 2010-14. The book was written by Katina Powell, who claimed she was paid…

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NHL Wants to Keep Wrongful Death Suit in the Federal Courts

On January 20, 2017, the NHL opposed sending the wrongful death suit of deceased hockey player Derek Boogaard back to state court. The lawsuit began in 2013, and was initially filed in Cook County, Illinois, but was removed by the NHL to the federal courts shortly after. Boogaard’s family alleges he developed a painkiller addiction and permanent brain damage from injuries sustained as an “enforcer” for the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild. Boogaard died of a painkiller overdose in 2011, and was prescribed…

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