NFL Goes 0 for 2 Against Insurance Companies in Court

The National Football League is now 0-2. It lost yet another round on the legal gridiron last week when New York State Supreme Court Judge, Jeffrey K. Oing, ruled that the lawsuit between the NFL and its insurance companies could proceed in NY.  This is despite the fact that the NFL filed a similar lawsuit in California first. This echoes a previous ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Shepard Wiley Jr. who held last fall that California was the wrong venue to deal with these coverage issues. The primary issue in these cases is whether the NFL’s insurance companies (past and present) owe coverage to the NFL in the lawsuits brought by former and current NFL players over concussion-related injuries. Both sides are fighting for legal home-field advantage ...
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NY AG Says NFL Can’t Fish for Information about Player’s Sexual Orientation at Combine

On March 14, 2013, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent a warning letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after rumors emerged that the league was asking players about their sexual preferences when they reported to the scouting combine – employer behavior which is illegal in many jurisdictions.   The questions at issue were directed to three incoming college players who were allegedly asked whether they had girlfriends, whether they were married, or whether or not they “liked girls.” New York prohibits prospective employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual preference.  Twenty of the league’s 32 teams are in jurisdictions with similar laws.  The move by New York’s AG was aimed at preventing the league’s use of such questioning in the future.  Schneiderman remained positive about the situation, stating “I ...
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Nintendo Clobbered by Tomita with $30 Million Verdict in Patent Litigation

On March 13, 2013, a jury awarded a $30.2 million dollar verdict to Tomita Technologies International Inc. in its patent infringement with the Nintendo Co. Ltd.  Tomita’s suit accused Nintendo of infringing on its “Stereoscopic imaging picking up and display system based upon optical axes cross-point information” patent (which displays 3-D images viewable without special glasses) by using the technology in Nintendo’s 3DS hand-held video game system.  . Seijiro Tomita (the founder of Tomita Technologies) spent 30 years working at Sony as an engineer/inventor, and has been listed as an inventor/co-inventor for almost 70 patents from across the globe.  Tomita’s attorneys expressed satisfaction with the ruling, stating “”We are thankful to the jurors for their diligence and hard work . . . .  It has been a honor to represent ...
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The Islamic Republic of Iran takes on Producers of ‘Argo’

Iran is considering suing the producers of Argo claiming that the Oscar winning best picture provided an unrealistic portrayal of the country during the seizure of the United States Embassy in 1979.  The decision to potentially litigate resulted from a recent screening of the film by Iranian cultural officials and movie critics in Tehran as part of an event entitled “The Hoax of Hollywood”.  The Iranian government alleges that the film is an attack on Iranian culture and international cultural norms. The film depicts the clandestine rescue of six Americans who escaped the militant take over of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took refuge in the Canadian embassy.  The movie was produced by its director, Ben Affleck, as well as by actors George Clooney and Grant Heslov.  It is ...
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NFL Teams Up with GE to Fund New Concussion Research

On March 11, 2013, the National Football League and the General Electric Co. announced that they are teaming up to create a Head Health Initiative that will provide $60 million dollars to assist leading neurologists in researching traumatic brain injuries and developing technology able to monitor these ailments.  $40 million will go towards developing imaging technologies, and the remaining $20 million will be available to others who seek to prevent, identify, and develop treatments for brain injuries.  Athletic apparel company Under Armour will also be providing $5 million dollars in support for the cause. Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman and CEO, indicated that scientific support for the research would be top-notch.  “We’re trying to do this with the best minds anywhere in the world,” he noted in a news conference.  He ...
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Green Jacket Flak – Augusta National Sues to Stop Sale of Championship Threads

On March 11, 2013, U.S. District Judge Emily Tobolowsky granted a temporary injunction to the Augusta National Golf Club, which suspends the sale of a fabled green jacket by the Dallas-based company Heritage Auctions. The dispute between Augusta National and Heritage Auctions arose in February when Dr. Stephen Pyles, a golf memorabilia collector from Florida, attempted to sell Art Wall Jr.’s green jacket from the 1959 Masters Tournament.  Pyles had purchased the jacket at a similar auction last year for $61,452.55.   However, Augusta National claims that the jacket purchased by Pyles was one of four green jackets to be stolen from the club last year (the other three have since been recovered).  A trial has now been ordered to resolve the ownership issue. Pyles and Heritage Auctions assert that Augusta ...
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Washington Redskins Tackle Challenge to Team Name

On February 7, 2013, the NFL’s Washington Redskins were forced to defend the validity of six of the team’s trademarks to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.  Several Native American Petitioners have claimed that the Redskins’ name and logo are disparaging and offensive to Native Americans – making them barred from trademark protection under the Lanham Act.  Jesse A. Witten, counsel for the Native Americans, noted, “We are focused on the word “Redskin’ and no other matter.  ‘Redskin’ is an ethnic slur.  It is an epithet.” This is not the first time a group of Native Americans have sought to invalidate the six trademarks at issue.  Attempts to change the team’s name in 1992 and 2006 both failed.  Further, the Petitioners faces an uphill battle ...
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Al Gore Currently in Court over Al Jazeera Sale

Former Vice President Al Gore, Current TV LLC and others were recently sued in California state court by John Terenzio, an entertainment consultant from the Los Angeles consulting firm TAP, Inc.  Terenzio accuses Gore and the other defendants of selling Current TV to the Al Jazeera Media Network two months ago without providing Terenzio the compensation he claims he is owed for setting up the terms of the transaction with the Qatar-based media giant.  The suit for breach of implied agreement seeks at least $5 million in compensatory damages. Al Jazeera’s January move to acquire Current TV was part of its strategy to set up a New York-based U.S. news channel.  Its acquisition of Gore’s struggling company will double the number of U.S. workers Al Jazeera employees to over 300. ...
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NCAA Program Allows “Exceptional” Athletes to Hedge Against Loss of Future Earning Potential

“Prediction is Very Difficult, Especially about the Future” – Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr may not have had sports in mind when he said this but, yes, predicting the future is hard and that is exactly what makes sports so exciting. Whether it’s the big, unexpected play with only seconds left on the clock or a Cinderella story at a National Championship – unpredictability is why we watch the game. Despite the difficulty, we like to predict the future of star athletes. One big question surrounding any star collegiate athlete, especially at draft time, is “what is that athlete going to make in the big leagues?” Following an athlete’s transition from college to the pros is exciting. Alas, disabling injuries in college sometimes keep that athlete from moving up to ...
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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 as a result of criminal acts involving minors committed by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The NCAA’s lawsuit stems from a newly enacted bill which requires the fine money which Penn State will be required to pay to the NCAA to remain in Pennsylvania ...
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