Flag on the Play – District Court Judge Rejects NFL Concussion Settlement Plan

Last fall the NFL and 4,500 ex-NFL players reached a proposed settlement deal of $765 million to end the ongoing multi-district concussion litigation.  In the underlying case, the NFL alumni accused the league of intentionally downplaying the risks of concussions and their correlation to later-life cognitive decline.  In addition to the $765 million sum, the NFL was slated to pay out $112 million in additional funds in plaintiffs’ attorney fees. However, on January 14, 2014, Judge Anita Brody for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania officially rejected the proposed settlement only a week after the league and plaintiffs’ attorneys jointly submitted a detailed payout plan for dividing the settlement funds.  Under the proposed plan, payouts would be awarded based on an ex-player’s age and medical condition.  In the order rejecting that ...
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Workers’ Compensation Claim from the Fringe (of the Premises): Harrah’s Atlantic City Liable for Claim At Very Edge of Property

Per a January 17, 2014 decision of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Harrah’s Atlantic City (Harrah’s) is liable for a claim occurring at the very outskirts of its property. The undisputed facts of the claim are that Ms. Burdette, a casino dealer for Harrah’s, finished her shift on September 19, 2012. During the course of her exit from the property, she drove her vehicle along a Harrah’s internal driveway and through a Harrah’s security gate, but her vehicle was struck while she was in the course of making a left-hand turn onto MGM Mirage Boulevard – a public highway. However, at the time of the impact and as confirmed by images from surveillance cameras, a small portion of Ms. Burdette’s vehicle was located on the ...
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Coinye Shutting Off “All of the Lights”

“Coinye West” is closing up shop because Kanye West isn’t happy.  On January 14, 2014, Kanye West filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the virtual currency now known as Coinye.  The currency, which started as a joke, announced through its website, “Coinye is dead. You win, Kanye.” Earlier this month, the currency’s founders discussed Coinye West in an interview with Vibe. They talked about the soon to be launched currency.  Referring to Kanye, they said “I think he’s gonna love that there’s a CURRENCY named in his honor.” They were wrong.  Within days of the interview Kanye took action.  On January 6th, he served the founders with a cease and desist letter.  Kanye’s attorney wrote, “Mr. West’s tremendous success and notoriety has catapulted the KANYE WEST brand into a commercial ...
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Supreme Court Denies NCAA’s Petition to Get “In The Game”

On January 13, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the NCAA’s request to intervene as a party in Keller v. Electronic Arts Inc.  The Keller case stems from 2009 and involves “rights of publicity” and antitrust claims. Former college football players alleged that the EA violated their right of publicity and conspired with the NCAA by using their image and likeness in its videogames.  In EA’s appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the NCAA was not immune to the players’ claims because the depictions in EA’s video games were too realistic. EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company settled the antitrust suit three days after EA petitioned the Supreme Court in September 2013. The NCAA sought to intervene in the settlement because it was not a party to the Ninth Circuit ...
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TV Weather Anchor Hiring Decisions Are Acts in Furtherance of Free Speech

Thanks to a California intermediate appellate court’s recent reversal of a Los Angeles County trial court, CBS is halfway towards the early dismissal of a discrimination lawsuit filed by a man CBS declined to hire for a weather anchor position.  The case is Hunter v. CBS Broadcasting Inc. The plaintiff, Kyle Hunter, filed a gender and age discrimination complaint against CBS Broadcasting Inc. asserting that CBS violated the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.  He alleges that two local CBS television stations in Los Angeles refused to hire him as a weather news anchor because he was male and over 40, and that CBS adopted a policy of turning prime time weather broadcasting over to young, attractive females. California’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute, codified at Code of Civil ...
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The End of the Greatest Sports Deal of All Time

It’s been called the greatest deal in sports franchise history, and now, it may finally come to an end. The NBA has long hoped to be relieved of a 1976 agreement that gave two brothers one-seventh of the visual media revenues received by four NBA teams. The agreement didn’t seem outrageous in 1976, but in 2014, that agreement has given the brothers over $300 million in media revenue. Finally, the NBA and the two brothers, Daniel and Ozzie Silna, are coming to a settlement to release the NBA from its financial obligation. As part of the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, the Silna brothers, owners of the Spirits of St. Louis, accepted a share of NBA’s visual media rights in exchange for folding their ABA franchise.  The Silna brothers negotiated an ...
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Fan Brings Class Action Suit Against NFL Over Super Bowl Ticket Price

NFL fans know they are going to have to shell out big bucks if they want to go to the Super Bowl.  At the time this was written, tickets were priced at a minimum of $2,500 on ticket resale websites.  Despite getting a “deal” and only paying $2,000 a piece for his tickets, Josh Finkelman filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL in a New Jersey federal court on January 6th, 2014. Finkelman alleges the NFL violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act by limiting the number of tickets available to the general public.  New Jersey law states, “It shall be an unlawful practice for a person, who has access to tickets to an event prior to the tickets’ release for sale to the general public, to withhold those tickets ...
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Vikings Hire Two Top “Players” to Investigate Ex-Punter’s Allegations

The Minnesota Vikings have retained former Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice Eric Magnuson and former Justice Department attorney Chris Madel to investigate ex-punter Chris Kluwe’s allegations that he was fired for supporting same-sex marriage. On January 2, 2013, Kluwe published an article on Deadspin outlining the time leading up to his release from the team.  He discussed speaking out in support same-sex marriage and the response of team employees.  Kluwe said he is “pretty confident” he was fired after eight years as the Vikings’ punter because of his a “recent activism for same-sex marriage rights.” Despite Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf’s support of his activism, Kluwe says others in the organization pushed for his release.  More specifically, Kluwe said Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer “didn’t agree with the cause I was working for, ...
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Johnny Depp Settles Bodyguard Lawsuit

According to TMZ, Johnny Depp settled a case brought against him concerning the alleged actions of his bodyguards.  Rather than fighting it out in court, Depp and the other defendants reached an agreement with Robin Eckert for an undisclosed amount. In December 2011, Depp attended an Iggy Pop concert in Los Angeles.  Allegedly, Eckert, who was seated next to Depp, was thrown to the ground by Depp’s bodyguards after dancing too close to the movie star.  Eckert claimed the bodyguards caused her pants to fall down “exposing her buttocks to other Hollywood Palladium Theater patrons.”  In addition, she alleged that she suffered severe injuries as a result. Although Depp settled, it is unclear if he would have been held liable at all.  The initial police report indicated that the police ...
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Disney Hoping to Freeze “Frozen Land”

This holiday season Disney released its newest animated film “Frozen.” To celebrate, the company presented Phase 4 Films with a gift worse than Aunt Edna’s fruit cake – a trademark infringement lawsuit. Disney’s “Frozen” was released on November 19, 2013.  Less than three weeks earlier, Phase 4 changed the title of one of its from “The Legend of Sarila” to “Frozen Land.”  In a December 23 complaint, Disney stated the change was an attempt to ride the coattails of “Frozen’s” success. Under its original title, Phase 4’s film received little attention or success in the U.S.  Disney contends, Phase 4 “redesigned the artwork, packaging, logo, and other promotional material for its newly (and intentionally misleadingly) retitled film to mimic those used by [Disney] for Frozen” hoping to generate more revenue. ...
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