Author Archives: Joseph M. Hanna

WWE Alleges Attorney Improperly Solicited Wrestlers in Royalty Suit

On October 27, 2017, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) accused attorney Matthew Peterson of soliciting former wrestlers to join a royalty suit against WWE. WWE requested the court compel Peterson to provide documents and testimony that were previously denied under claims of privilege and improper instructions not to answer questions during the deposition. Specifically, WWE seeks a March 2016 email from Peterson to plaintiff Scott “Raven” Levy, and the same plaintiff to testify about a meeting with co-plaintiff Marcus “Buff” Bagwell. The lawsuits filed by…

Continue Reading....

Ezekiel Elliott Back on the Bench as Suspension Reinstated

After hearing arguments from the NFL and the NFL Players Association, U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla denied Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott’s request for a preliminary injunction to block his six-game suspension. The decision comes only two weeks after the same court had granted Elliott’s request for a temporary restraining order that had then frozen the suspension. This was Elliott’s second request for a preliminary injunction since he received the suspension on August 11 following domestic violence allegations. The first request had been granted by…

Continue Reading....

Rutgers Goes on the Defensive in Trademark Infringement Suit

A New Jersey apparel company, Anger Sports, sued Rutgers University and an assistant head coach of Rutgers’ football team for trademark infringement earlier this month. Anger Sports, which owns the wordmark “Rare Breed Athletics,” registered its logos in May 2016. The company is alleging that the Scarlet Knights’ assistant head coach, A.J. Blazek, posted images on social media in February 2017 of a logo, confusingly similar to the Anger Sports logo, which is meant to represent the offensive line of Rutgers’ football team. The twitter…

Continue Reading....

Washington School District Urges Ninth Circuit to Uphold its Suspension of Football Coach for Praying on Fifty-Yard Line

On October 13, 2017 Bremerton School District, a Washington state district, urged the Ninth Circuit to maintain its ruling that the school had the right to stop a football coach from praying on the field after games, hitting back at claims that the ruling was in opposition of the First Amendment. In August, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction by the school’s former football coach Joseph Kennedy, who accused the school of violating his First Amendment rights by prohibiting him from…

Continue Reading....

Florida Law Professor Requests Argument Before Court on Sports Betting

On October 17, 2017, Florida State University professor Ryan Rodenberg asked the U.S. Supreme Court in an amicus brief to consider all of its options before ruling on a challenge to a federal sports betting ban. Rodenberg, whose research is in sports law analytics, requested the court to grant him five minutes in oral arguments to argue that the court should rule based on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) without ruling on the law’s constitutionality. Rodenberg’s amicus brief is his latest…

Continue Reading....

Class Action Concussion Suit Earns a First Down Against Pop Warner Youth Football

Parents in a class action suit gained yardage against Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc, the nation’s largest youth football league. On Friday, October 20th, 2017, California U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez refused to blow the whistle on claims that Pop Warner failed to institute league-wide guidelines and increased the risk of head injury to its players. “Pop Warner Little Scholars argues that the fraud claims fail because head trauma is an inherent risk of tackle football,” the judge wrote, but what the parents…

Continue Reading....

NFL Concussion Litigation Faces Fight Over Selling Settlement Proceeds

On October 13, 2017, class counsel in the National Football League concussion litigation asked a Pennsylvania federal judge to rule that an uncapped settlement agreement prohibits players from assigning their payouts to a third party. The motions stem from a hearing in July that addressed concerns that players who would benefit from an uncapped settlement were being improperly solicited by claim assistance providers who may be giving misleading offers. Then, in a September hearing, class counsel warned the judge that many players made deals with…

Continue Reading....

Football Helmet Maker Fends Off Another Concussion-Related Lawsuit

The country’s largest helmet manufacturer, Riddell, filed a motion to dismiss on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, in a suit brought by a class of former high school football players in August. The players allege Riddell’s negligence, failure to warn, and design defects caused the athletes’ current long-term brain and neurocognitive injuries. Riddell argues the players’ design defects claim is contradicted by their complaint that also cites a 2002 product label that warned “[c]ontact in football may result in concussion-brain injury which no helmet can prevent.”…

Continue Reading....

Hernandez’s Daughter Adds Helmet Maker in Refiled CTE Suit

On October 16, 2017, Aaron Hernandez’s daughter, Avielle Hernandez, filed suit in Massachusetts state court against the NFL and helmet maker Riddell Inc. for Hernandez’s post-death diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This suit was filed a few days after Avielle’s lawyers withdrew her suit in federal court against the NFL and the New England Patriots. However, the New England Patriots were left out of the Massachusetts state court suit. Avielle’s attorney stated that a separate action involving the Patriots will be filed at a…

Continue Reading....

Cowboys’ Elliott Catches Yet Another Reprieve in Fight Against NFL Suspension

South District of New York Judge Paul Crotty granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Tuesday, October 16, 2017, blocking the NFL’s suspension of Dallas Cowboys’ star Ezekiel Elliott, pending a hearing before the presiding judge, Katherine Polk Failla, who is on vacation. Judge Crotty’s ruling that “irreparable harm” would be caused if Elliott served the suspension comes only five days after the Fifth Circuit had overturned the first injunction, issued by a Texas court, which had frozen Elliott’s suspension. The Fifth Circuit…

Continue Reading....