Saleel V. Sabnis

All articles by Saleel V. Sabnis

 

Stanford Runner Becomes First Active Division-1 Athlete to Sue NCAA Over Concussions . . . Then Backs Out Of Suit!

Jessica Tonn, a senior cross-country and track and field runner at Stanford University, became the first active D-I athlete to sue the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) over concussions when she filed a lawsuit against the NCAA in federal court on March 5.  In an abrupt twist, her involvement in that litigation lasted two days when she decided that she no longer wished to be a plaintiff in the class action. Tonn’s involvement as an active student would have certainly made history, especially given that…  

Minor League Baseball Players Cry Foul – File Lawsuit Seeking Class Action Over Low Wages

A lawsuit filed in federal court seeks to overhaul minor league baseball’s pay scale with three former players arguing low pay, mandatory overtime and lack of collective bargaining rights all violate state and federal wage laws. Minor League Baseball is not a party to the lawsuit. Instead, suit was filed in federal California Northern District Court by former players Aaron Senne, Michael Liberto, and Oliver Odle against Major League Baseball, the Office of the Commissioner, Commissioner Bud Selig and their former teams the Miami Marlins,…  

The NCAA Faces Another Concussion Lawsuit

The number of class-action lawsuits pertaining to concussions filed against the NCAA is now at five. Attorneys for former Kansas fullback Christopher Powell filed the most recent suit in U.S. District Court in Western Missouri on November 18 alleging that the NCAA failed in its duty to protect its athletes from the concussion/head trauma hazards of football and are seeking damages for the chronic physical ailments Powell is suffering almost two decades after he finished his collegiate career. The lawsuit claims that Powell, who played…  

City of San Jose Loses Heart of Lawsuit Against Major League Baseball

A San Jose federal judge recently dismissed part of the City of San Jose’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball (MLB) over the league’s lack of action on a proposed move by the Oakland Athletics. The judge granted MLB’s motion to dismiss in part but also denied it in part. Most significantly, Judge Ronald M. Whyte held that the league’s antitrust exemption ultimately precluded San Jose’s claims against MLB under the Sherman Act. The Athletics’ owner had been pushing to move the team out…  

NCAA to Gradually Restore Penn State’s Football Scholarships

The NCAA announced this week that it will reduce the unprecedented sanctions against Penn State’s football program by gradually restoring scholarships starting next season. Modifications to other sanctions, such as reducing the four-year postseason ban, may be on the horizon but were not announced. We all remember when the crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky were splashed on the front pages of newspapers, and when the case involving the notorious former Penn State assistant coach was the focus of every news channel for months. After Sandusky…  

NCAA, University Sued Following Football Player Death

The parents of a Frostburg State University football player, who allegedly died after repeated head injuries suffered on the field, have accused coaches at the Maryland school of organizing high-risk drills that caused players to suffer repeated blows to the head. In the wrongful death lawsuit, Derek Sheely is alleged to have been allowed to return to the playing field despite prior bleeding from his forehead during several consecutive practice sessions in August 2011. Sheely was allegedly never checked for a concussion. The lawsuit alleges…  

NCAA Hits Back, Seeks Dismissal of Lawsuit filed by Paterno Family Stemming From Sandusky Scandal

The NCAA wants a judge to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the family and supporters of late football coach Joe Paterno. Alleging that the claims are “baseless,” the NCAA filed its response to the Paterno family’s civil lawsuit last week on the day marking the one year anniversary since the NCAA sanctioned PennState for the Jerry Sandusky scandal with unprecedented penalties that included a $60 million fine. This is just the latest chapter from the embarrassing scandal which has tarnished the university’s brand and hindered…  

Michigan Follows National Trend, Passes New Sports Concussion Law

Michigan has become the 39th state to pass a sports concussion law which went into effect on June 30, 2013. The new Michigan law applies to school athletic committees, which include organized practices or competitions and also physical education classes that are part of any academic curriculum. Pursuant to the new law, before a student athlete may participate in athletic activities sponsored or operated by the school, the school must first insure that coaches, employees and volunteers and other adults who are involved in the…  

Latest Mitchell Quarterly Report Continues Praise of Penn State’s Progress Post-Sandusky Scandal

Penn State is apparently continuing to make steady progress in moving past the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Last week, former Senator George Mitchell, the third-party independent athletics integrity monitor, issued a third quarterly report (which can be found at by clicking here.) stating that University officials have given his team nothing but “full cooperation” as the institution works to implement various reforms after sanctions were imposed on Penn State stemming from the Sandusky scandal. Like Mitchell’s two prior reports, his third quarterly…  

Former Hockey Player Derek Boogaard’s Family Sues NHL for Wrongful Death

The family of a National Hockey League (NHL) player who died of an accidental overdose from pain medications and alcohol has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the league in Cook County, Illinois. The family of Derek Boogaard alleges that the NHL is responsible for the brain damage he suffered during his years in the league and for his eventual addiction to prescription pain killers. Boogaard was found dead of an accidental overdose of pain medication and alcohol on May 13, 2011 at the age…  

Was it Retaliation? Why New Jersey’s Whistleblower Statute May Pose More Problems for Rutgers University on the heels of the Mike Rice Scandal.

The Rutgers Basketball saga was early April’s big news. As most are aware, video recordings were made of basketball practices conducted by Head Basketball Coach Mike Rice which showed him using gay slurs toward his players and otherwise becoming physical toward them. The footage was given to Athletic Director Tim Pernetti in November 2012. Pernetti seemingly took the path of lesser resistance by suspending Rice for three days and levied a fine against him.  No further action was taken until the tape was made public…  

Penn State Taking Notable Steps to Implement Systemic Changes After Sandusky Scandal

Penn State is apparently making steady progress in incorporating the requirements mandated by the NCAA on the heels of the embarrassing Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.  Last month, former Senator George Mitchell (the third-party Athletics Integrity Monitor) stated that Penn State is implementing various campus-wide changes to address deficiencies which had rendered the University and its administrators partly culpable for Sandusky’s criminal actions. Mr. Mitchell recently detailed in a second quarterly report to the NCAA and Penn State (as required to be issued pursuant…  

NCAA Returns Favor, Files Lawsuit Against Pennsylvania Over Bill 187 Targeting Penn State Fines

In the continuing soap opera that has emerged from the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) filed its own lawsuit in late February against Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and state treasurer Rob McCord; auditor general Eugene DePasquale; and the chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Mark R. Zimmer. This suit comes just over one month after the Governor’s own lawsuit against the NCAA for the crippling sanctions-including a $60 million fine-the NCAA imposed on Penn State…  

New Jersey Enacts New Social Media Privacy Bill Affecting Student Athletes

In December 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law “A-2879” which will have a direct impact on an the accessibility of student-athlete social media accounts (what the act terms “social-networking websites”) by employees at institutions of higher learning. The New Jersey bill prohibits any public or private institution of higher education in New Jersey from the following: (read the complete act by clicking here).
  • Requiring a student or applicant for admission to provide or disclose any username or password, or in any