Author Archives: Joseph M. Hanna

NFL Sacked Again in American Needle Case – May Head to Trial in Antitrust Dispute

In 2010, the Supreme Court declared that the National Football League’s practice of league-wide licensing deals was not immune from antitrust scrutiny under Section One of the Sherman Act.  On remand, a recent order by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied the NFL’s motion to dismiss the case and set the stage for a trial. The American Needle company, an entity that had acted as a vendor for the NFL for 20 years, initially sued the league, 30 of its…

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Merriman Lawsuit May Be “Lights Out” for Nike

Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman is suing apparel giant Nike. Merriman’s company, Lights Out Holdings LLC, filed suit in California claiming that Nike infringed his trademark in “Lights Out” after Nikeintroduced a “Lights Out” line of merchandise. Merriman earned the “Lights Out” nickname in high school when he knocked out four opposing players in one game. Merriam secured a federal trademark in “Lights Out.” It has been used in several off-field ventures and is largely associated with Merriman’s persona. According to the suit, although Nike…

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Cheaters Never Win? Borgata Sues Poker Pro Ivey for Alleging Edging His Way to $9.6M

The Atlantic City-based Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa is suing professional poker player Phil Ivey for allegedly cheating his way to over $9 million dollars in gambling earnings.  In brief, the Borgata accuses Ivey of noticing defects in the cards and using those observations to give him an advantage over the casino in a baccarat session back in 2009. The lawsuit states that Ivey used a technique known as “edge sorting” to cheat the house out of millions.  Allegedly, once Ivey and his co-conspirator Cheng…

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Northwestern Football Players Encouraged to Just Say No to Union

Last month the Chicago office of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued a ruling stating that athletes at private universities are employees of their respective schools and have the right to unionize.  Now, with Northwestern’s players scheduled to vote on unionization on April 25, Pat Fitzgerald, the school’s football coach, is urging his players to vote against the measure. The players leading the unionization effort are hoping to secure things such as better medical coverage, four-year scholarships, and even the possibility of being paid. …

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NHL Faces Off with a New Concussion Suit

This week the NHL was hit with another concussion-based lawsuit brought against it by nine former hockey players.  The 109-page court filing accuses the league of negligence for failing to properly warn and protect players from the risks involved with repeated head trauma.  In pertinent part the complaint reads, “[D]espite the fact that the NHL’s violent game design induces head trauma, including concussions, the NHL has failed and continues to fail to warn its players of the risks to their lives and the devastating and…

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Senator Schumer Helps Broadway Get A Break

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is pushing Congress to support a bill giving tax breaks to the Broadway theater industry. Schumer’s bill would give Broadway theater a huge financial boost under a change in the federal tax code. His proposal, recently passed by the State Finance Committee, would allow 100 percent of any live theatre investment to be deducted up to $15 million per production. This type of tax incentive is currently granted to television and film projects, but has yet to reach live theater.…

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The Battle Over ‘Margaret’ Ends

On Wednesday, April 2, a six-year legal battle over Kenneth Lonergan’s film Margaret, released in 2011 ended. The parties to the suit, Lonergan and the film’s financier, Gary Gilbert, came to a settlement agreement that was recently  executed. In 2005, Gilbert and Fox Searchlight (Fox) agreed to split about $12.6 million in production costs for the film Margaret. In 2007, Gilbert became unhappy with the result of the film’s final cut and according to Lonergan, attempted to seize control of the film despite not…

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NLRB Ruling Allows College Football Players to Unionize — and the Ramifications Could Be Huge

A recent decision by regional director Peter Sung Ohr of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) declared that Northwestern University football players are school employees, and have the right to unionize. This move could have vast potential ramifications for academic athletics and the NCAA, two groups that have traditionally worked together to set rules for players classified as “student-athletes.” The cause was spearheaded by former Northwester quarterback Kain Colter and the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), a union which advocates for student athletes’ rights. During…

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‘Hits of the 80s’ Producer Facing Class Action for Breaking ‘Promises, Promises’ to Consumers

On March 20, 2014, Tutm Entertainment, a media company known for producing music albums such as ‘Hits of the 80s’ and ‘Hits of the 90s,’ was hit with a class action suit in New Jersey federal court.  The suit, headed by lead plaintiff Celeste Farrell, is seeking over $5 million in damages for advertising practices Farrell claims constitute consumer fraud. In particular, Farrel’s filing accused Tutm of releasing albums that appeared to contain the original versions of classic hits such as “Cult of Personality” by…

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The Shaq “Attack”

The one-time NBA superstar and basketball commentator,  Shaquille O’Neal (“Shaq”), is under investigation for an incident that occurred outside Turner Studios in Atlanta, GA on March 19th. An Atlanta news station obtained a police report detailing an alleged assault between Shaq and Robert Williams, a co-worker, outside of Turner Studios. After his 2011 retirement, Shaq signed on with Turner Sports and joined “Inside the NBA” as an NBA commentator. According to the police report, Williams stated that Shaq “ran out of a room…

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