Author Archives: Joseph M. Hanna

Former NFL Players Object to Class Attorneys’ Fees from the Concussion Settlement Fund

The former NFL players and their families seeking to recover from an uncapped NFL concussion litigation have objected to an additional five percent set-aside sought by the class attorneys on the case. As previously reported, in April 2015, the NFL entered into a settlement agreement with almost 22,000 former players, which established a 65-year span to compensate the class members. The deal offers payments ranging from $1.5 million to $5 million for each player, or the player’s estate, who suffered from a serious…

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Connecticut Federal Court Denies WWE’s Motion for Summary Judgement Over Lengthy Briefs

A Connecticut Federal Judge has denied World Wresting Entertainment, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment regarding two former wrestlers’ claims that the long-term injuries associated with repeated head traumas were hidden from them, as both sides submitted briefs that were too long. As background, former WWE wrestlers, Evan Singleton and Vito LoGrasso sued the WWE in January 2015 for the WWE’s alleged concealment of the long-term health risks associated with repeated head injuries, and further, mislead wrestlers into performing while injured — worsening their injuries.…

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NCAA Argues O’Bannon Win Insufficient for a Grant of $42 Million in Attorneys’ Fees

The NCAA has moved for the Ninth Circuit to deny a $42 million attorney’s fees request regarding the underlying litigation over rules barring student-athletes from receiving compensation for their names, images, and likeness, as the NCAA alleged the win was only partial, and thus, such a large award is inappropriate. As background, a California district court issued an injunction, which prevented the NCAA from capping student-athletes financial aid amounts below the full cost of attendance, and that student-athletes could receive up to $5,000 per…

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Former ESPN Announcer’s Wrongful Termination Suit Removed Back to State Court

A California Federal Judge ruled that former ESPN announcer Doug Adler’s wrongful termination suit, in which he claimed two executives and the network misinterpreted his “guerilla” comment about Venus Williams’ game play, will head back to state court, as ESPN failed to prove the executives’ Connecticut residence for invoking diversity jurisdiction. The dispute arose when Adler used the word “gorilla” while Venus Williams was on the court during the 2017 Australian Open. Adler was forced to make an on-air apology the following day, before…

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Supreme Court Grants Cheerleading Apparel Manufacturer’s Request: Uniform’s Decorative Elements are Copyrightable

The U.S. Supreme Court held that a cheerleading uniform’s decorative elements may be protected under copyright law — a ruling aimed at providing some resolution regarding the disagreement over when these types of designs are eligible for protection under U.S. copyright law. As background, in 2010, Varsity Brands, Inc., the country’s largest cheerleading supplier, accused one of its rivals, Star Athletica, of copying the key elements of its uniform’s design, including stripes, chevrons, and other graphic elements that Varsity had registered with the Copyright…

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Judge Finds Chink in IP Suit Over Iron Man’s Armor

On March 27, 2017, U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken dismissed in part and granted in part Walt Disney’s Marvel Entertainment’s bid to dismiss a copyright suit by Horizon Comics Productions Inc. over Iron Man’s body armor design. The lawsuit commenced in April 2015 by Horizon’s owners Ben and Ray Lai, who claimed Iron Man’s armor was based upon their 2001 comic book series Radix. In addition, the Lai brothers claimed that Marvel’s promotional poster for Iron Man 3 copied a promotional piece of…

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Back to Full Strength: U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Scores Big in Payment Dispute

In a stunning win for equal pay between genders, the United States Women’s hockey team secured a major victory by coming to an agreement with USA Hockey on a new four-year labor agreement. This result came on the heels of the Women’s team plan to boycott the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship, which began Friday March 31, 2017. The move to boycott drew a large amount of support from athletes to politicians, who reverberated the argument that the women’s team should earn a…

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Judge Preliminarily Approves NCAA’s $209 Million Antitrust Settlement

A U.S. District judge has granted preliminary approval for a $208.7 million settlement in the antitrust lawsuit between student-athletes and the NCAA/eleven athletic conferences. The approval came after revisions were added to exclude claims in other athletes’ suits and to modify class definitions. As background, the student-athletes’ original complaint, filed in 2014, challenged the NCAA’s rules prohibiting universities from paying students a larger sum than a full grant-in-aid — which covers the up to the full cost of university attendance. Not only did the…

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Costco Teeing Up IP Suit with Golf Ball Maker Titleist

Costco Corporation has filed suit in Washington federal court, seeking a declaration that its discount golf ball, the Kirkland Signature (KS) ball, does not violate any patents held by golf brand Titleist’s parent, Acushnet Co. Costco initiated this declaratory action when Acushnet allegedly sent “a threatening letter” accusing it of patent infringement and false advertising. Acushnet, a Massachusetts company, manufactures one of the top golf performance equipment brands, Titleist. The patents at issue, in pertinent part, relate to the hardness of the golf ball’s…

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Former NFL Stars Who Opted Out of the NFL Concussion Litigation Rejoin Class

Two former NFL stars, Joe Horn and Chris McAlister, became the latest players to reinstate themselves in the NFL’s uncapped concussion litigation, after initially opting out of the class action. As background, the settlement established a bottomless fund over a 65-year span — with a potential payout of over $1 billion — to compensate a class of over 20,000 former NFL players now suffering from serious degenerative conditions linked to traumatic brain injuries, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. Under the settlement, each…

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