Stubhub Files Notice of Appeal in Antitrust Lawsuit

On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, Stubhub filed its Notice of Appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, urging the Circuit Court to review its recently dismissed lawsuit against the reigning NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors. Stubhub originally filed its lawsuit in April, alleging that the Warriors violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by restricting the “resale” of season tickets to Ticketmaster’s platform. The Warriors and Ticketmaster countered with a motion to dismiss, arguing that Stubhub failed to allege a…
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Upping the Ante in Fantasy Sports Litigation: NHL, NBA, MLB Added as Defendants in FL Action

Dozens of federal lawsuits have been filed against DraftKings, Inc. and FanDuel, Inc. since the insider trading scandal made news in September 2015.  By way of a substantial amendment to their complaint, the plaintiffs in a Florida action have added numerous additional defendants. This putative class action, known as Gomez v. FanDuel, Inc. et al, was filed in the Southern District Court of Florida on October 15, 2015.  The suit alleges state law negligence claims against DraftKings and FanDuel — the two industry…
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Illinois Judge Grants Temporary Restraining Order Against MLB, NHL, and NBA Counterfeiters

On November 6, 2015, U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood filed a temporary restraining order (TRO), prohibiting unidentified online retailers from producing and distributing counterfeit sporting merchandise. The suit, brought in Illinois federal court last month by MLB, NHL, and NBA league affiliates, seeks to prevent the defendant retailers from selling products featuring their logos and claims $2 million in damages for the use of their trademarks. In their suit, the leagues claim that online retailers — believed to be based in China — have…
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StubHub Antitrust Suit Dismissed

The Golden State Warriors, the NBA’s reigning champions, won another victory last week, this time in the courtroom. On Thursday, November 5, 2015, a federal judge dismissed StubHub’s antitrust action against the Warriors and Ticketmaster. StubHub filed suit in April, alleging that the Warriors violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by restricting the resale of season tickets to Ticketmaster’s platform. The complaint alleged that the Warriors threatened to revoke ticket privileges, deny first bid at playoff tickets, and refusal to invite ticket holders back next…
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Class Action Filed Against NBA Video Game Developer

On Monday, October 19, 2015, two Illinois residents filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Take-Two, a video game publisher, developer, and distributor, alleging violation of privacy rights. The video games in question are Take-Two’s NBA 2K15 and NBA 2K16 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gaming platforms. According to the complaint, Take-Two integrates PS4’s camera and Xbox’s Kinect camera into the games, allowing users to create NBA players with a “personally identifying facial rendition.” The plaintiffs argue that this feature constitutes illegal collection of…
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Ex-Knick Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits Under California Law

On October 1, 2015 the Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, concluded that former NBA player Durant “Rudy” Macklin was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Macklin, a former Louisiana State University standout, was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks and played two seasons with the team before being traded to the New York Knicks.  Macklin would later sign a contract with the Los Angeles Clippers though he never played an NBA game for the team.  Macklin alleged: (i) that while he was with the…
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More Cheerleaders are Chiming in: Milwaukee Bucks Dancers File Wage Action, Joining Trend

On Thursday September 24, 2015, former Milwaukee Bucks cheerleading team member Lauren Herington filed a class action against the NBA organization regarding minimum wage violation allegations. Herington represents a class of current and former Bucks cheerleaders/dancers, aptly named, the “Bucks Dancers.” The lawsuit was brought under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and pursuant to Wisconsin state wage and hour laws. The action is seeking increased wages and damages, in addition to injunctive relief for attorneys’ fees, unpaid overtime wages, and unpaid minimum wages. The…
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Those Pesky CBA’s: The Strife of Bismack Biyombo’s Former Agent

In June 2014, agent Igor Crespo sued his former client, NBA center Bismack Biyombo, for breach of their player-agent contract.  The action, however, will now be limited pursuant to a recent order issued by Justice Saliann Scarpulla of the New York Supreme Court (New York’s trial court level) on September 4, 2015. The initial complaint filed claims against Biyombo for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and tortious interference of contract.  The damages are alleged at $2 million.  In particular, Crespo claims that, under the…
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Don’t Approach MJ for Endorsement Deal Unless You’ve Got $10M in Your Pocket

Michael Jordan is a man who may not be an expert in running a basketball team but seems to know how to capitalize on his name, image, or likeness. Jordan’s advisor Estee Portnoy testified that for a business proposal to reach Jordan’s desk, the deal must be at least $10 million. Portnoy also said that rather than signing on a one-time use, Jordan typically bundles up his image rights and endorsements into a package to protect the value of his brand. Portnoy testified on…
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The First Domino: Donald Sterling Files Suit Over 2014 Release of Audio Recordings

The saga of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling took another turn on Friday when he filed a lawsuit against TMZ Productions Inc. and V. Stiviano, his former mistress. The lawsuit arises out of recordings taken by Stiviano of conversations between she and Sterling in which Sterling made a number of racist comments. One such comment involved him rebuking Stiviano for posing in a photograph with former NBA star Magic Johnson. The conversations occurred in September 2013, and were released in April 2014. Sterling…
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