Did Concussion Lawsuits Deal a Fatal Blow to Helmet Manufacturer’s Deal with the NFL?

Riddell, Inc. was contractually granted the rights to be the official helmet supplier of the NFL in perpetuity in 1989, over 20 years ago.  However, on Thursday, October 24, 2013, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed that the NFL had negotiated to end its business relationship with the helmet manufacturer at the end of the 2013 NFL season. Riddell initially resisted the NFL’s withdrawal from their contractual relationship, but was ultimately unsuccessful in thwarting the NFL’s designs.  A statement made by Roger Goodell at a youth league event earlier this year indicated that the league “had to use quite a bit of leverage” in order to wrap up the agreement. Riddell released an official statement, noting, “We are proud of our relationship with the NFL . . . .  While it ...
Continue Reading...


PGA Asks Court to Buck Singh’s Deer-Antler Spray Case

A New York judge must decide whether to dismiss Vijay Singh’s case claiming public humiliation against the PGA Tour.  As we reported at that time, in May, Singh sued the PGA for the “reckless administration and implementation” of its anti-doping program.  On October 24, 2013, the PGA asked the judge to dismiss the case. In January 2013, Sports Illustrated reported that Singh admitted to using a product called “The Ultimate Spray.”  The spray contains trace amounts of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the PGA.  Although IGF-1, in small amounts, is a naturally occurring hormone in the human body, the spray is derived from deer antlers. After the admission, Singh was suspended from the tour for 90 days.  However, he was allowed ...
Continue Reading...

Ryan Hart Did Not Consent to $40 Million EA Settlement

Ryan Hart, a former Rutgers quarterback, told the New Jersey federal court that he was “completely uninformed” about negotiations and a settlement impacting his case against Electronic Arts (EA).  In his October 21, 2013 filing, Hart did not object to the settlement, but he opposed an action to replace him as the named plaintiff. The $40 million settlement, announced last month, will remove EA and the Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) from Hart’s case and two others if approved.  Hart’s case was filed almost four years ago alleging that EA used the college athletes’ likenesses in video games without permission.  Other similar cases have also brought in the NCAA and CLC to the claims.  Approval of the settlement would end Hart’s case and only claims against the NCAA would remain. Hart’s ...
Continue Reading...

‘Saturday Night Live’s’ Lack of Diversity No Laughing Matter

Saturday Night Live kicked off its 39th season last month with host Tina Fey and musical guest Arcade Fire, along with six new castmembers. However, according to the website Zap2It, the new additions showed that SNL producer Lorne Michaels “has a diversity problem” — the six are all white, with only one woman. This criticism has been voiced before; during SNL’s nearly four decades on air, only four black women have been included as cast members. But the controversy took on new life following a recent interview with castmember Kenan Thompson. As TV Guide reported on October 14: Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members (Thompson, [Jay] Pharaoh, and the Iranian Nasim Pedrad), Thompson blames ...
Continue Reading...

NCAA Will Try Mediation to “Soften the Blow” of Second Concussion Case

The NCAA has agreed to mediate another concussion case pending against it, according to an October 18, 2013 filing. Last month, Chris Walker filed the case against the NCAA contending that the organization failed to protect student-athletes from concussions.  Walker, a former defensive end for the University of Tennessee, is seeking class action status for all former NCAA football players.  The parties agreed to mediation of the claims.  Retired U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips will over see the mediation set to take place on February 18, 2014.  Phillips is the same mediator who aided former NFL players to settle their concussion case against the NFL. The February mediation is not the only concussion mediation in which NCAA and Phillips will participate in the coming months.  In 2011, Adrian Arrington and ...
Continue Reading...

Tiger’s 2013 Grade: “C” for Cheater?

Chances are that Tiger Woods has never gotten an “F” on any test or examination in his life. After all, he’s won 79 PGA Tour events, is a 14-time major champion and, prior to turning professional, spent two years as an undergraduate at Stanford University, one of our nation’s most prestigious institutions. This is at least part of the reason that Brandel Chamblee’s 2013 season-in-review “report card”, published last week on Golf.com, in which he gave Woods a grade of “F” for the season, has drawn the ire of the golfer’s agent, Mark Steinberg. However, it’s the other underlying accusation in the article, that Woods is a cheater, that caused Steinberg, in an interview with ESPN.com this past weekend, to threaten to file a lawsuit on Tiger’s behalf, purportedly for ...
Continue Reading...

Screenwriter Alleges the Matt Damon Sci-Fi Hit Elysium Was His Idea

One of this summer’s worldwide hits was the Matt Damon-starring science fiction film Elysium. But several months after its release, director Neill Blomkamp’s movie, which tells the story of a poor man who attempts to save his life by making an illegal trip to a satellite planet surrounding a ruined Earth, has found itself at the center of controversy. Blomkamp was recently sued by little-known screenwriter Steve Wilson Briggs for copyright infringement claiming similarities between Elysium and his screenplay Butterfly Diver. The suit, filed in the Northern District of California, alleges that the film infringes on Butterfly Diver’s plot, characters, unusual settings, themes, conflict, and climax-twist. It further alleges that Blomkamp had access to the story and attempted to disguise the infringement. According to the suit, Briggs finished the first ...
Continue Reading...

Concussion Controversy: Is the NHL Next?

As previously reported by the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider, the NFL’s recent settlement of the concussion class action brought by former pro players, the pending suits by former college football players against the NCAA and helmet manufacturer Riddell, and the wrongful death action by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died after repeated head injuries suffered on the field, among others, all beg the question: When — not if — will hockey see a rash of concussion-related litigation? Both the NHL and the NFL have seen numerous careers cut short by concussions over the last two decades. Like football, hockey is an inherently dangerous sport, one in which violent collisions are commonplace. In addition to the risk of concussions during the course of play, hockey ...
Continue Reading...

NY Judge Says Dr. Oz’s Viewers Are Not His Patients

A New York State court judge declined to view Dr. Mehmet Oz’s audience as patients.  As a result, the judge dismissed one viewer’s claim against Dr. Oz for providing negligent medical advice on his TV show. In March 2013, Frank Dietl filed suit against Dr. Oz claiming he suffered second and third-degree burns on his feet by following the doctor’s advice.  After viewing an episode on insomnia, Dietl tried the suggested remedy to cure sleeplessness caused by cold feet. Dr. Oz recommended putting uncooked rice in a pair of socks, microwaving the sock/rice combo, and then wearing them to bed.  The doctor said that the “heated rice footsie” helped cure his own insomnia. Dietl sued Dr. Oz, NBC, Sony Pictures Televsion and Harpo Productions for his injuries.  Dietl has diminished ...
Continue Reading...

Announcer Phrase in EA’s Madden Game Gets Student in Trouble

A 15-year-old middle school student landed in hot water for saying a phrase he learned from Electronic Arts’ (EA) Madden 12 game.  The student, while announcing a football game, described a 7th grade player of Haitian descent by saying, “He’s got that getting away from the cops speed.” The phrase was originally made on television by announcer Gus Johnson to describe a touchdown by Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson.  Later, the phrase was included in EA’s football game as one of phrases the electronic version of announcer makes. Many have stated the phrase is racist, especially because they say Johnson only used it when describing black players.  Johnson, who is black himself, previously stated, “[i]f there is a perception of racism in this analogy, it is not coming from ...
Continue Reading...