Author Archives: Joseph M. Hanna

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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Helmet Maker Riddell Accuses Rivals of Delaying Football Helmet Patent Infringement Litigations: Unfair Delay, or Proper Use of a Stay Pending the PTAB Outcome?

Riddell, Inc., a Chicago-based sports equipment maker, urged an Illinois federal court to keep its patent infringement suits moving forward, instead of granting its rival’s motion to stay the cases while the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) reviews the patents at issue. As background, Riddell filed two lawsuits in April, 2016 against Schutt Sports and Xenith, LLC, alleging the competing companies’ football helmets violated Riddell’s “Sports Helmet” patents, patent numbers 8,938,818 and 8,528,118, both issued between 2013 and 2015. Each patent provides detail…

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Researchers Attempt to Block NHL’s Attempt to Discredit Head Trauma Research

On March 1, 2017, Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University CTE researcher, filed an affidavit with the Minnesota federal courts that she fears the NHL is seeking research materials to discredit the center’s research on the brain disease CTE. Dr. McKee’s affidavit comes on the heels of the NHL’s motion to compel the center to produce their materials related to their research on the degenerative brain disease. The center’s research will be used by NHL players in a proposed class action lawsuit against the NHL…

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Former USC Football Player Urges California Court Not to Dismiss FLSA Class Action Suit

On Monday, February 27, 2017, former USC football player, Lamar Dawson, urged the Northern District of California court not to dismiss his proposed class action lawsuit, in which he seeks wages and overtime pay for Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players. As background, Dawson filed suit against the NCAA and Pac-12, alleging that the organizations violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California State labor law by underpaying athletes, not paying athletes minimum wages for all hours worked, not paying timely compensation, not…

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California Court Strikes Down NCAA Student-Athletes Document Request on Pac-12 ESports Competitions

A California judge has denied student-athletes’ request for production of PAC-12 Conference’s documents regarding ESports competition between its members schools. As background, the plaintiffs, student-athletes, filed suit against the NCAA regarding its rules that prohibit universities from offering athletic scholarships exceeding a full grant-in-aid — one that covers up to the full cost of attendance. Essentially, the plaintiffs alleged that the value of their scholarships was illegally capped, because the “Power Five” conferences passed NCAA Legislation, in January, 2015, which “allowed for schools to increase…

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Show Me the Money: NCAA Agrees to Pay Over $200 Million to Former Student Athletes

In a historic moment, the NCAA agreed to settle a portion of a massive class-action lawsuit earlier this month. The total amount — $208.7 million — was agreed to by the NCAA to remedy student athletes who competed prior to January 2015, when the five major college athletic conferences, including the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, and Big 12, voted to increase the amount of an athletic scholarship to cover the cost of attending a university. The settlement requires the payment of roughly $6,700 dollars…

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O’Bannon Attorneys Attempt to Cash In with the Ninth Circuit

On February 16, 2017, attorneys for the student-athletes in the infamous O’Bannon case argued in front of the Ninth Circuit that they are entitled to over $42 million in attorney’s fees. The attorney’s obtained an injunction from the district court that the NCAA could not cap student-athlete aid packages at below the full cost of attendance, and that student-athletes could receive up to $5,000 per year in cash payments for use of their name, image, and likeness. However, the appellate court reversed the district court’s…

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Are EA’s Visual Representations in Madden Generic Enough to Avoid Liability in Publicity Claim?

In 2010 Michael Davis and other former NFL players filed suit in California, alleging that video game maker Electronic Arts (EA) violated their rights of publicity when it used famous teams from the past in Madden games from 2001 until 2009. In their complaint, the retired players argued that while EA obtained permission from current players to use their names and likeness, the company failed to do so with the retired players. While the former players did not allege that their names actually appeared in…

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NCAA Players’ Likeness Suit Attempts to Gain New Life

On February 17, 2017, two former Catholic University basketball players from the 2001 Division III national championship team pleaded for the Ninth Circuit to revive their class action against a website, T3Media, which sold official NCAA photographs from their championship season. The suit commenced in 2012, but was dismissed in 2015 as a District Court judge found that the website did not exceed its copyright and, therefore, was preempted by the Copyright Act. In response to the court’s dismissal, members of professional player unions in…

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Splitting Blades: Houston Texans Combat Latest Challenge to NRG Stadium Turf Safety

Coming on the heels of hosting Super Bowl LI, the National Football League and the Houston Texans are fending off another lawsuit resulting from a football-related injury. Former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans filed suit last October, alleging that the turf at NRG Stadium, the home field of the Houston Texans, caused his career-ending injury. During a game against the Texans on November 2, 2014, Ryans jumped to intercept a pass, but, upon landing, tore his Achilles tendon, ending his season. Ryans seeks damages…

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