Author Archives: Joseph M. Hanna

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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Game Developer Agrees to Cease Usage of “April Madness” and “Final 3” in 2017

Game developer Kizzang LLC, accused by the NCAA of infringing on the Association’s “March Madness” Trademark, has agreed to cease use of similar marks for any of its basketball-themed games during 2017 — while the infringement suit proceeds in Indiana federal court. As background, the NCAA — an avid defender of its “March Madness” mark — filed suit against Kizzang and its owner, Robert Alexander, less than a week before the annual commencement of its men’s basketball tournament. As previously reported, the NCAA’s…

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Wideman’s 10-Game Suspension Stands Despite NHL’s Insistence that Arbitrator Overstepped his Bounds

A New York federal judge recently confirmed the decision of James Oldham, an arbitrator, to reduce Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman’s suspension for hitting a referee. As background, in January, 2016 Wideman was hit by another player while on the ice, which caused him to suffer a concussion. As he was skating to his bench, Wideman — looking dazed and confused — collided with a referee, Henderson. Henderson hit the ground and suffered from a concussion. The commissioner suspended Wideman for the minimum amount…

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Are Millennials’ TV Watching Habits Jeopardizing the Future of Sports?

Millennial sports fans are moving away from cable television and traditional sports towards online video game tournaments and other “eSports.” A study conducted by LEK Consulting revealed a “sharp generational divide” among sports fans. This divide is marked by a change in TV viewing habits between millennials (those between 18-25 years old) and those above 35. The report stipulated that millennials are spending less time watching traditional cable television, and thus, losing interest in traditional sports. As background, LEK conducted a survey of…

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Helmet Maker Riddell Free to Move Forward with Patent Infringement Litigation During PTAB Review

On Sunday, March 19, 2017, an Illinois Federal Judge denied Kranos Corporation’s and Xenith LLC’ motion to stay Riddell’s helmet patent infringement cases against them, holding that a pending Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) review does not provide an automatic stay for the two cases. As previously reported, Riddell filed two lawsuits against Kranos and Xenith in April 2016, alleging their helmet designs infringed Riddell’s patented helmet designs. While the judge presiding over the case denied Riddell’s motion to consolidate the two…

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Ex-NFL Players Argue NFL in Violation of the Controlled Substances Act: Forcing Players to Play While Injured and Hopped up on Painkillers

Retired NFL Players claiming that their teams pushed them to abuse painkillers recently filed an amended complaint alleging that doctors and trainers supplied narcotics and painkillers in order to keep the players on the field — even though “[p]layers [we]re not informed of the long-term health effects of taking controlled substances and prescription medications in the amounts given to them.” The complaint further claims that teams “maintain the return to play practice or policy by ensuring that players are not told of the health…

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NCAA Initiates Trademark Infringement Suit Against Online Game Developer Over “April Madness”

With “March Madness” upon us, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana, alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition. As background, the NCAA has used the trademarks “Final Four” and “March Madness” to identify and distinguish is basketball competitions for over twenty years. The NCAA marks cover goods like duffel bags, tote bags, and telecommunication services. Notorious for protecting its right to the “Madness” name, the NCAA initiated this trademark infringement suit over online fantasy games called “…

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Court Reaffirms Position: NCAA’s Transfer Rule Not Unlawful

In January, former Northern Illinois University football player Peter Deppe filed suit against the NCAA for its rule that requires student-athletes who transfer to sit out of their sport for a year. On Monday, March 6, 2017, an Indiana federal judge heard oral arguments from Deppe and the NCAA, and found that the NCAA’s “year-in-residence” rule does not violate the Sherman Act because it furthers the NCAA’s objective to promote competition among amateur athletes. The court had made a similar ruling in 2016 against…

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Sport Memorabilia Collector Faces Up to 20 Years for Memorabilia Fraud, Including Fake Heisman

An Arkansas sports memorabilia collector pled guilty in Chicago’s federal court to defrauding investors by selling fake and doctored items, even using a fake Heisman Trophy as collateral for a $100,000 loan. As background, John Rogers sold fake sports memorabilia to his customers and secured loans by offering fake and inauthentic items as collateral. Rogers’ plea deal stated that he either “created the items himself or altered them to make them appear authentic.” Rogers admitted to defrauding the investors in his companies and the…

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Another State Launches Attack on the Federal PASPA: West Virginia Introduces Bill Calling for the Legalization of Sports Betting

West Virginia has joined several other states in their quest to legalize sports betting by introducing a bill that calls the federal prohibition on states from allowing the practice unconstitutional. On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, West Virginia State Representative Shawn Fluharty introduced House Bill 2751, which seeks to legalize and regulate sports betting in the state and alleges that the federal Professional and Armature Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional. The Bill declares that sports betting is lawful if it complies with the Lottery…

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