TaylorMade Pulls Rocketballz Advertising Claim

On June 12, 2013, The National Advertising Division (NAD) heard Callaway Golf Company’s challenge regarding a claim that “the average golfer picked up about 17 yards” with TaylorMade Golf Company’s “Rocketballz” 3-Wood. The NAD provides alternative dispute resolution for companies that challenge factual claims made in national advertisements. The NAD examined whether TaylorMade implied that Rocketballz would actually increase the average golfers distance by 17 yards despite their experience or skill. TaylorMade said the claim was a “single misworded reference” to its Rocketballz fairway woods. TaylorMade permanently discontinued the “average player” claim from any future advertisements. TaylorMade noted that the 17 yard increase claim was accidentally implied in the context of the Rocketballz video advertisement. TaylorMade modified the video advertisement once it was aware of the inaccurate claim.  The advertisement ...
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‘Thriller’ in the Courtroom: Former Jacksons Lawyer Sues Sony

The Jackson family is the topic for discussion in the courtroom these days. The family’s trial against AEG for negligently hiring Dr. Conrad Murray continues. Meanwhile, on Monday, June 17, 2013, former lawyer and manager for “The Jackson Five,” Richard Arons, filed suit in California Superior Court against Sony Music Entertainment (Sony). Arons claims that Sony owes him royalties for recorded music Michael and his brothers made prior to 1983. Among other things, Arons is suing for breach of contract and improper accounting. Arons became the Jackson family attorney in 1969. He became co-manager with Joe Jackson in 1972. Arons and Joe Jackson split 15 percent of the gross proceeds that Michael and his brothers earned from all their activities. After numerous disputes between Arons and the Jackson family, Arons ...
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California Jury Allows Madden Developer to Play On in Case Against EA

It took less than a week to return a verdict in favor of former Electronics Arts Inc. (EA) videogame developer Robin Antonick. On Friday, June 21, 2013, a California jury ruled that Antonick was not too late to bring a breach of contract claim against EA for royalties that he alleges are owed to him from a 1986 agreement with the video gaming company. Antonick is the original designer and developer of the Madden NFL Football games. A 1986 agreement required EA to pay him royalties on “any derivative works related to the original version of EA Madden, including current annual releases, and prohibits EA from using his confidential information.” The suit was filed in 2011 and claims that EA owes Antonick millions in royalties. However, Antonick first had to ...
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Analysis: Patriots’ Release of Hernandez Avoids Issue with MA Law

Although it may not have been the motivating factor in the decision, the New England Patriots decision to release Aaron Hernandez following his Wednesday, June 26, 2013 arrest for murder allow the team to avoid problems with Massachusetts law on criminal records.  Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 15l B, Section 4; 804 CMR 3.01 makes it illegal for an employer to ask certain questions about a job applicant’s or employee’s criminal record. Employers may not ask about, maintain a record of, or base any employment decision on an arrest or prosecution that did not lead to a conviction.  Similarly, Employers may not base any employment decision on any record of a court appearance which has been sealed under state law. If the Patriots had decided to suspend Hernandez pending the outcome ...
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Is Brazil’s World Cup in Jeopardy?

With the World Cup just a year away, widespread protests across Brazil have cast a long shadow over the host country’s ability to stage soccer’s biggest event. President Dilma Rouseff called an emergency cabinet meeting today in the wake of protests in 80 cities, involving 1 million Brazilians. The protests initially began peacefully, but a brutal police crackdown of a peaceful protest on June 13 has caused the situation to devolve into chaos, with serious vandalism, looting and arson, and one fatality. These have occurred while Brazil hosts the Confederations Cup, considered a test run for the World Cup. There have already been calls for FIFA to cancel the remainder of the tournament, in the wake of the violence. Thus far, FIFA has refused to do so.  The genesis of ...
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Steelers’ Proposed Seat Expansion Sacked by Judge

On Wednesday, June 19, 2013, a Pennsylvania judge rejected the Pittsburg Steelers’ request to force Heinz Stadium’s owner to pay for part of a proposed seat expansion.  The Steelers contended the Pittsburg-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority (Authority) was required to pay two-thirds of the 3,000 seat, $30 million dollar expansion.  The Steelers filed a partial summary judgment motion to resolve the expansion funding before trial.  The judge dismissed the motion saying that the Steelers failed to prove the requirements necessary by the plain language of their lease. According to the Steelers, the lease requires the Authority to pay for a 10,000 seat or less “designated expansion.”  The Steelers contend these expansions are automatically deemed “capital improvements” and the Authority is required to pay two-thirds. The Authority, a tax-payer funded ...
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San Jose Looking to Play Ball with MLB in Federal Court

On Tuesday, June 18, 2013, the City of San Jose filed an antitrust suit against Major League Baseball (MLB) and its commissioner Bud Selig in federal court.  The dispute revolves around the Oakland Athletics (A’s) hopes to relocate.  Although the A’s have considered a move for a while, the league must approve one first. The A’s stadium is the fourth oldest in the league, and it shows.  A sewage leak on Sunday June, 16 created problems in the clubhouse forcing the A’s to share a locker-room with the visiting Seattle Mariners. San Jose has had enough.  A committee was appointed to look into a move by the team over four years ago.  Earlier this year, San Jose’s mayor proposed a sit down with Selig, but he refused.  The city’s attorney ...
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USTA Seeks Ruling on Use of US Open Footage in ‘Venus and Serena’ Documentary

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is matching up the documentary “Venus and Serena,” in New York federal court. On Friday, June 14, 2013, the USTA filed suit against Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, the filmmakers behind the documentary that follows the lives of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. The suit alleges that the filmmakers infringed USTA’s exclusive copyrights for the annual U.S. Open tennis competition. The lawsuit contends that the filmmakers were granted limited access to film portions of the 2011 U.S. Open subject to a standard footage licensing “rate card.” Although Major agreed to the licensing agreement, the filmmakers did not make any payment for licensing, leaving the USTA to believe the documentary fell through.  The USTA is also putting up a fight over archived footage from ...
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Trial to Determine if Madden Developer Can Beat the Clock with Big Play for Damages

On Monday June 17, 2013, opening statements were made to determine if Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) lied to the original programmer of the Madden NFL videogame. Robin Antonick, the game’s original programmer, claims the company continued to use the game’s code that he developed after contractually agreeing not to do so.  Monday, a California federal judge decided the case would go to trial. Antonick worked for EA from 1984 to 1991.  During his tenure, he developed the first rendition of the game for Apple II, Commodore 64, and IBM PCs.  After Antonick decided not to help with the Sega Genesis version, EA hired a new developer.  Both EA and the new developer agreed not to use the original coding and would start from scratch. In 2009, the company celebrated and ...
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Louisiana Court Limits Workers’ Compensation Recovery

On May 16, 2013, the Court of Appeal of Louisiana (5th Circuit), held that former National Football League (NFL) player Daniel Campbell was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits based on his projected NFL salary instead of his pre-season earnings. In June through August of 2009 during pre-season training, Mr. Campbell sustained two separate injuries to his right knee which effectively ended his career as a football player.  Per his contract with the New Orleans Saints, he was to earn $525 per week for pre-season activities and if he were unable to perform because of a pre-season injury, he would receive his $335,000 base salary for that year.  Following the injuries, the Saints did pay Mr. Campbell the $335,000 salary and also paid for claimant’s medical treatment.  Subsequently, Mr. Cambell ...
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