Author Archives: Joseph M. Hanna

Hernandez’s Daughter Fights Back to Keep Suit in State Court

On November 20, 2017, counsel for Aaron Hernandez’s daughter, Avielle, opposed the NFL’s bid to pause her lawsuit as well as the NFL’s removal of the case into federal court. The lawsuit blames Hernandez’s violent behavior, as he committed suicide in prison while waiting for his appeal of his murder conviction, on his after-death diagnosis of stage three chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Specifically, the suit alleged that the NFL and helmet maker Riddell, Inc. concealed information that linked football to CTE and mild traumatic brain…

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Ex-Players Argue NFL Moving the Goalposts on Requirements to Get Settlement Share

Sixteen retired NFL players urged a Pennsylvania federal court on Monday, November 13, 2017, to overturn a claims administrator’s changes to how claims are processed under a settlement agreement for brain injuries. The NFL reached the estimated $1 billion settlement in the concussion suit four years ago, and began accepting claims against the settlement eight months ago. Of the 1,400 players awarded damages from the league as part of the settlement, only 140 have gotten any sort of payout from the NFL. The court…

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NFL Requests Hernandez Suit to be Paused

On November 15, 2017, the NFL moved a Massachusetts federal court to stay the proceedings of the lawsuit filed by Aaron Hernandez’s daughter for his late-stage chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) until a decision is made about transferring the case to multidistrict litigation. After Hernandez committed suicide in prison, it was found that he had stage three CTE at the age of 27, which is most commonly seen in men in their 60s. Hernandez’s daughter claimed the NFL knew about CTE since the 1960s but did…

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Researchers Report Evidence of CTE in a Living Patient for the First Time

Researchers in Chicago report they have detected evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a living patient for the first time by detecting deposits of tau proteins. The degenerative brain disease currently can only be formally diagnosed after an autopsy. The study also confirmed that a “fingerprint” signature of CTE exists. More research is needed to verify the correlation, but it is a groundbreaking first step toward understanding CTE and developing a cure. The case study was published in the journal Neurosurgery this…

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Adidas Executive Asserts No Universities Defrauded in NCAA Bribe Case

On November 15, 2017, the attorney for Adidas executive Jim Gatto told a Manhattan federal judge that no colleges were defrauded. Gatto was charged in a bribery scheme to pay college basketball athletes to play for Adidas-sponsored schools and to hire certain agents after they went professional. Gatto was arrested in September and was Adidas’ head of global sports marketing directed at basketball. In addition, Merl Code, an Adidas consultant, and Christian Dawkins, a former NBA agent, pled not guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges.…

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WWE Granted Phone Record Request; Wrestlers Ask for Reconsideration

On November 9, 2017, the Connecticut district court granted World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.’s (WWE) request for phone records of calls between Marcus “Buff” Bagwell and Scott “Raven” Levy and attorney Matthew T. Peterson. WWE wanted the phone records to show that Peterson solicited the two former wrestlers to file the royalty suit against the WWE. The judge granted WWE’s motion because the wrestler’s attorney did not respond to the motion in time. The wrestlers had until noon on November 9 to file their response to…

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Game Over for Ezekiel Elliott; Appeal at Second Circuit Dropped

Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott has accepted his six-game suspension and withdrawn his appeal at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, ending the battle that started in July 2016, when Elliott’s ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence. After a year-long investigation, his suspension was announced August 11, 2017. Elliott fought the suspension through three different courts, and got three reprieves that kept him on the field for the first half of the season. He will sit out the next five games, and is set to return…

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NFL Removes Hernandez Suit to Federal Court

On November 14, 2017, the NFL removed Aaron Hernandez’s daughter’s lawsuit to Massachusetts federal court. The lawsuit seeks to hold the NFL, as well as helmet maker Riddell, Inc. accountable for Hernandez’s development of severe chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The NFL moved the case to federal court based on their assertion that the claim arises under federal law. Hernandez’s daughter, Avielle, filed the suit initially in Norfolk County Superior Court in Dedham, Massachusetts. She claimed the NFL and Riddell hid and downplayed the risks of…

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NCAA Hopes for Slam Dunk in Trademark Infringement Suit

The NCAA, on November 13, 2017, asked for a default judgment and a permanent injunction against Kizzang LLC and its owner, Robert Alexander, for alleged trademark infringement of “March Madness” and “Final Four.” A judge had issued a stipulated order back in March under which Alexander and Kizzang agreed not to use “April Madness” or “Final 3” in its online fantasy games. The suit was originally filed in March 2017, less than a week before the NCAA’s annual Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. It…

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U.S. Army Shoots Back at Holding that “West Point” is Not a Registrable Trademark

An examiner at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board refused to register the U.S. Army’s military academy crest and the words “Army West Point” unless the Army disclaimed the words “West Point.” The examiner ruled that “West Point” was not a registrable trademark, but rather a “primarily geographically descriptive” name, referring to the town of West Point, New York. Last year, the Army applied to register the famous military academy’s crest — an Athena helmet on a shield with the words “Duty Honor Country West…

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