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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Chef Ramsey Served with Class Action Suit by ‘Fat Cow’ Employees

On Thursday, June 13, 2013, a proposed class action was filed on behalf of all former and current employees of Chef Gordon Ramsey’s Los Angeles restaurant “The Fat Cow.” The class action is lead by a former server, barista, and two hostesses who are taking their beef to California state court against the celebrity chef’s restaurant. The class action alleges that the restaurant’s management took tips from former employees, and violated a series of other wage-and-hour labor codes. The Fat Cow opened its doors on October 1st, 2012, and is already catching steam over improper managerial practices. The Complaint alleges that former and current employees were forced to work through meal times and other breaks without receiving premium pay for missed meal or rest breaks. Plaintiffs contend that workers “have ...
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Keeping Up With the Counterclaims: Tria Beauty, Inc. and Kim Kardashian Are Denied Insurance Coverage

On May 21, 2013, a California Federal Judge denied insurance coverage to Tria Beauty, Inc. in a case involving false advertising allegations against rival Radiancy, Inc.  In response, Radiancy, Inc. raised several counterclaims against Tria Beauty. What made the case especially noteworthy is the involvement of Tria Beauty’s leading spokeswoman, the wildly famous and always controversial Kim Kardashian. The coverage claim providers, National Fire Insurance Co. of Hartford, and Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America, denied coverage to Tria Beauty, Inc. The coverage dispute was argued before U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment, holding that: [W]hile the policies would have covered Tria’s claims, other circumstances meant the insurers were off the hook. … Both insurers contend that Radiancy’s counterclaims in a separate action ...
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Sports Leagues “Betting” On Third Circuit Opinion in NJ Appeal

The NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and the NCAA asked the Third Circuit to affirm an opinion enforcing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA).  New Jersey and others will have until June 14, 2013 to file an answer to the leagues’ recently submitted brief.  The sports leagues want the law to stand and prevent New Jersey from allowing sports gambling.  According to the Leagues, sports gambling threatens the integrity of their games. PASPA was enacted by Congress in 1992.  The law prohibits all but four states from allowing sports wagering.  Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon, all had sports gambling schemes before the law was enacted.  The 1992 law was signed to regulate sports gambling throughout the country by preventing governments and private actors from engaging acts that ...
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Kobe Bryant Meets Auction House at Half Court in Memorabilia Settlement

Kobe Bryant met a New Jersey auction company in the middle on Monday, June 10, 2013 during settlement discussions. Bryant and Goldin Auctions LLC reached a settlement agreement ending a month long battle over a collection of the NBA star’s memorabilia spanning all the way back to Bryant’s high school career. Bryant’s mother Pamela Bryant offered Goldin a collection of Bryant memorabilia in return for an advance of $450,000 in January 2013. Items include several of Bryant’s high school uniforms, his 1996 High School All-American ring, and his most valuable player plaque awarded in college. Pamela Bryant cosigned for the memorabilia, asserting legal rights to sell the items. Goldin planned on selling the items for auction, until Bryant stepped in to defend the items he claimed were rightfully his. In ...
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Judge Suggests Parties Settle Ugly Dispute Over Art Valuation Over Cocktails in the Hamptons

A feud between a billionaire art collector and a gallery owner continued in a Manhattan court on June 5, 2013.  The head of Forbes Holdings Inc. & MacAndrews, Ronald Perelman, is suing Larry Gagosian over past art deals.  The case started in September 2012 when both parties filed claims against each other on the same day in the same New York court.  Gagosian accused Perelman of backing out of a $23 Million art deal. Perelman’s suit asserts that Gagosian manipulated art prices and concealed information in several past sales.  One of these sales is Perelman’s $4 Million purchase of “Popeye”, a granite sculpture of the cartoon character. Gagosian dropped his suit in October, and on Wednesday, he urged the judge to dismiss Perelman’s complaint.  The judge was astonished that the ...
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