Author Archives: Joseph M. Hanna

Pennsylvania Appeals Court Denies NCAA’s Efforts to Appeal Negligence Finding in NCAA Death Suit

The NCAA’s efforts to appeal a Pennsylvania court’s finding that the NCAA was negligent in failing to require Division II schools screen for sickle-cell trait were denied on December 28, 2016. The case arose after Jack Hill Jr., a Slippery Rock University student, died following a high-intensity basketball practice due to sickle-cell trait complications. Jack Jr.’s parents, Jack and Cheryl Hill, filed suit against the University and the NCAA, arguing the university’s failure to administer sickle-trait testing prior to allowing them to participate in athletics…

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Efforts of UPenn Athletes to Obtain Employee Status Denied Once Again

Following the dismissal of a suit brought by UPenn athletes seeking compensation as employees under the FLSA, the athletes are arguing that the Seventh Circuit’s reliance on a 1992 Seventh Circuit case, which rejected Fair Labor Standards claims brought by a prisoner, essentially placed them on similar legal footing as prison laborers. Though the athletes are aware fighting for employee status as college athletes is far-fetched based on the courts’ consistent denial of such claims, the UPenn athletes’ argument rests on the proposition that they…

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NCAA Faces Another Concussion Class Action Over Breach of Protective Duty

The NCAA faces another potential class action after several former college football players filed suit in Indiana federal court attacking the organization’s concussion protocol, or lack thereof. Some might say the organization should have seen it coming in light of the modified $75 million dollar medical monitoring settlement the NCAA reached with players last May. The original settlement was modified out of concerns that the settlement would preclude players from bringing individual personal injury claims based on contract principles, and left open the possibility of…

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Former NHL Players Bringing Concussion Suit Ask Court to Unseal Concussion Class Certification Docs

Several former NHL players brought a concussion suit against the National Hockey League in 2013 based on allegations that they have all experienced long-term neurological issues as a direct result of concussions sustained while playing for the league; a suit precipitated by a settlement between the NFL and thousands of former players over similar allegations. The players claim the league neglected to provide adequate protection and information re concussion dangers and the possible repercussions. One of the players’ experts opined that the average NHL player…

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Maryland Adopts Daily Fantasy Sports Regulations

Maryland’s fashionably late adoption of daily fantasy sports regulations went into effect on January 2, 2017, providing several consumer safeguards  in the industry. State regulations surrounding the industry came flooding in after fantasy sport kingpins DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Inc. faced a number of class action suits in 2015. Maryland’s regulations appear much less restrictive than most, however, in that they do not require operators to shell out a high registration fee (Virginia requires a whopping $50,000), and they set its minimum age at 18…

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Former NFL Player Asks Court to Send Texas Turf Injury Suit Back to State Court

Former Texas Houston linebacker Demeco Ryans has sued his former team for over $10 million in compensation for a no-contact, career-ending injury he sustained in 2014 while playing at NRG stadium. Ryans alleges the injury was a result of the field’s poor condition, and that the Houston Texans breached their duty to provide NFL players with a safe playing surface. The lawsuit also cites numerous complaints by other NFL players re the playing surface at NRG Stadium, which effectively put NRG on notice of the…

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As March Madness Looms, NCAA Opens Another Violation Investigation into UNC Academic Practices

Just when the University of North Carolina thought it was past the rounds of sanctions centering on academic integrity issues, the NCAA filed a third “Notice of Allegations” as 2016 came to a close. In the most recent notice, the NCAA alleged that the university provided improper extra benefits to student-athletes so that they could remain eligible for athletic competition. The notice goes on to allege that members of the men’s basketball and football programs received improper benefits, restoring a reference to the university’s premier…

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NFL Retirement Plan Asks Fourth Circuit to Deny Benefits to Player Disabled by Symptoms of CTE

Issues from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) have started to seep into other parts of retired NFL players’ lives. Attorneys for the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan recently asked the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a Maryland District Court’s order granting retired NFL linebacker Jesse Solomon disability benefits. The District Court ruled in favor for Solomon after finding that the Social Security Administration determined that Solomon had been disabled within a fifteen year window. In order to receive disability coverage, a player…

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Could a Sport’s Revenue be the Difference-Maker in Fight for Paid Student-Athletes?

A federal judge in California held a Seventh Circuit’s decision inapplicable to the Fair Labor Standards Act case brought by former University of Southern California linebacker, Lamar Dawson. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg rejected the defendants’ motion to stay the wage-and-hour case in spite of the NCAA and PAC 12’s motion to dismiss Dawson’s claims. Dawson brought this class action suit after leaving USC in December 2015, arguing he was “denied full pay for all hours worked, including overtime pay, and was frequently permitted to…

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Former Track & Field Athletes Petition for En Banc Review in the Face of Latest Defeat in Student-Athlete Employment Fight

Two former NCAA track and field athletes are petitioning the Seventh Circuit to overrule itself, in one of the highest profile student-athlete lawsuits since the Ed O’Bannon litigation. Plaintiffs Gillian Berger and Taylor Hennig competed for the University of Pennsylvania, and argue that the hours spent training and competing for their school violated the wage-and-hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The defendants, which include the NCAA, won a motion to dismiss the case this past February. That order was upheld by…

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