Tampa Bay Buccaneers Move to Dismiss Expert in Negligence and Fraud Claims

On February 7, 2018, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by former player, Lazarius Pep Levingston. Levingston sued the team and its Director of Football Operations, Mike Greenburg, for negligence and fraud, alleging that the team concealed the extent of Levingston’s injures in order to give Levingston a smaller settlement. In August 2013, Levingston suffered a neck injury in a pre-season football game. The team informed Levingston that he had a “cervical strain/sprain, thoracic sprain/contusion, and shoulder contusion.” He…
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NFL and NFLPA Move to Stop Former Agent’s Antitrust Claim

On February 5, 2018, the NFL, and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), filed a motion to dismiss an antitrust suit brought by former sports agent James Dickey. As we have previously covered, Dickey accused the NFL and the NFLPA of stifling competition by implementing a rule called the “Three Year Rule” to keep new agents out of the NFL. In order for an agent to represent players the must be certified. To be certified, agents must negotiate at least one NFL team contract every…
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Judge Stays Aaron Hernandez’s Consortium Suit

On January 23, 2018, U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. decided to stay a suit brought by Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, the fiancée of the late New England Patriots tight end Arron Hernandez. Mr. Hernandez committed suicide in prison while awaiting the appeal of his murder conviction. A court can stop, or “stay,” a proceeding or trial temporarily or indefinitely. Judge O’Toole ordered a stay on Ms. Jenkins-Hernandez’s suit in order to await a ruling by a Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. The panel is deciding…
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Riddell Fights Hundreds of Remand Motions

On January 19, 2018, Riddell Sports Group, Inc. opposed a class of former National Football League players’ motion to remand. Riddell is a sports equipment company that specializes in football equipment, particularity football helmets. The players are a part of a massive multidistrict litigation proceeding that is suing Riddell and the NFL. According to the motion, for the past six years, the players have been preceding under one master complaint that controlled all of their claims and superseded their original complaints. In addition, the players…
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Harvard Law Professor Changes His Mind Regarding Attorney’s Fees

As we have previously reported, back in September 2017, Judge Anita B. Brody appointed Harvard Law School professor William B. Rubenstein to address questions surrounding the $112.5 million settlement in the NFL concussion litigation. The final settlement established an uncapped fund that would compensate a class of over 20,000 former NFL players. In May 2017, a collection of law firms representing the players, filed a petition seeking $112.5 million common-benefit fee to compensate the class of attorneys. In his original assessment, Professor Rubenstein said…
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Harvard Law Professor’s Assessment on Attorney’s Fees Sparks Opposition

As we previously reported, lingering issues over the NFL concussion litigation settlement have reemerged. The final settlement established an uncapped fund that would last over a 65-year period, to compensate a class of over 20,000 former NFL players. In May 2017, a collection of law firms representing the players, filed a petition seeking $112.5 million common-benefit fee to compensate the class of attorneys. Unlike traditional common-fund cases where the common-benefit fees are calculated as a percentage of total recovery; in this case, the NFL
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San Francisco 49ers Must Hand Over Attendee Information

On January 5, 2017, Judge Susan van Keulen granted a class of mobility-disabled persons, suing the San Francisco 49ers and the city of Santa Clara, request for information about people who purchased accessible seating tickets at Levi’s Stadium. The suit originally began in December 2016 when Abdul Nevarez sued the San Francisco 49ers and the city of Santa Clara, owners of Levi’s Stadium, for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Nevarez, who requires the use of a wheelchair for mobility, attended four games…
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NFL Continues to Argue Hernandez Suit is a Matter of Federal Labor Law

On December 18, 2017, the National Football League responded in opposition to Avielle Hernandez’s motion to remand her lawsuit against the NFL back to state court. Also named in the suit are helmet maker Riddell and other related companies. Avielle’s lawsuit seeks compensation for the NFL’s role in her father’s, Aaron Hernandez’s, post-mortem diagnosis of stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Those diagnosed with CTE exhibit symptoms that include impulse control issues, aggression, depression, dementia, and suicidality. Hernandez committed suicide while serving a life sentence…
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Ruling on Field Stands for Changes to Claims Process in NFL Concussion Settlement

A Pennsylvania federal judge upheld the approval of a claims administrator’s changes in the way a multidistrict NFL concussion settlement was implemented. The 16 retired players who filed the motion for reconsideration argued that the court should review its Nov. 2 decision that they cannot interfere with the claims process. The former players again argued the requirements for qualifying for a monetary reward were altered from the original settlement agreement. The court denied the motion Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 without a memorandum. The retired players…
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Should Hernandez CTE Case Remain Separate from Class-Action Concussion Litigation?

Lawyers for the estate of late NFL star Aaron Hernandez are trying to prevent a $20 million lawsuit, filed on behalf of Hernandez’ five-year-old daughter against the National Football League, from being merged with a wider class-action suit addressing former players’ concussions. The defendants, including the NFL and helmet manufacturer Riddell, asked U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole in November to temporarily stay proceedings in the case until the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) rules whether the action should be added to the…
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