Category Archives: Litigation

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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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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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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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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NFL Painkiller Lawsuit Dismissed

California Federal District Court Judge William Alsup dismissed in part a class-action lawsuit filed by former NFL players who alleged teams forced players to ingest painkillers in order to keep them on the field regardless of the health risks posed and the potential long-term consequences. The complaint, filed against all 32 teams of the NFL, stated the teams’ main goal was to mask pain and conceal injuries. In July 2016, Judge Alsup refused to dismiss the lawsuit, despite the NFL’s protestations that the claims were…

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NHL’s Subpoena Requests Regarding CTE: Valid Production Request or Invasion of Privacy?

Beginning in September, 2015 the National Hockey League issued subpoenas to two doctors at Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center (Boston CTE) in order to compel production of the center’s research related to the league’s concussion litigation. In October 2017, the NHL issued another subpoena, seeking information regarding Lazarus Zeidel — who was added as a named plaintiff in the concussion lawsuit against the league after being diagnosed with CTE in a post-mortem analysis of his brain. While the league argued that the request…

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Is a Football Player’s Concussion an Intentional Injury? Arena Football Says No, Moves for Dismissal of Player’s Concussion Lawsuit

Lorenzo Breland, a former player for Arena Football One LLC’s Tulsa Talons and New Orleans Voodoo, sued Arena Football for concussion-related injuries that he sustained during his time in the league. Throughout his four years playing for Arena Football, Breland suffered two alleged concussions, the first one in 2011 and the second one in 2014 — ending his career. Breland sued the league for fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, negligence, and negligent misrepresentation. In response, Arena Football filed a motion for quick judgment, maintaining that Breland’s…

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NHL Wants to Keep Wrongful Death Suit in the Federal Courts

On January 20, 2017, the NHL opposed sending the wrongful death suit of deceased hockey player Derek Boogaard back to state court. The lawsuit began in 2013, and was initially filed in Cook County, Illinois, but was removed by the NHL to the federal courts shortly after. Boogaard’s family alleges he developed a painkiller addiction and permanent brain damage from injuries sustained as an “enforcer” for the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild. Boogaard died of a painkiller overdose in 2011, and was prescribed…

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Sexual Abuse Suit Brought by 18 Athletes Names MSU and USA Gymnastics as Defendants

Eighteen women have filed suit naming Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, and the Twistars gymnastics group as defendants with regard to the actions of Dr. Larry Nassar, an elite orthopedic doctor who allegedly sexually assaulted several women over the course of twenty years in the guise of medical treatment. Specifically, the suit alleges that by ignoring the women’s persistent claims, MSU, USA Gymnastics, and Twistars effectively perpetuated the abuse perpetrated by Nassar for two decades. Twistar’s owner, John Geddert, chose not to take action after…

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