Relationship with Failed Financial Advisor Triggers NFLPA Investigation of Drew Rosenhaus

The NFLPA is looking into whether player agent Drew Rosenhaus should have more closely scrutinized his relationship with financial advisor Jeff Rubin.  The investigation seeks to determine whether Rosenhaus breached his fiduciary duty to the players he represented – a duty owed to the players by all agents certified by the NFLPA – by not closely investigating the practices and credibility of Rubin before trusting him with the players’ monetary investments, many of which failed catastrophically. Among other questionable acts, Rubin has drawn widespread scrutiny for his investments in a failed Alabama bingo casino venture that cost 35 NFL players as much as $43.6 million when the venture went bankrupt earlier this year.  Notably, several legal documents seem to indicate that Rubin had mishandled client money as early as 2003, ...
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NFL Moves to Dismiss Concussion Litigation for Violation of CBA Terms

On August 30, 2012, the NFL and Riddell Inc. filed a motion to dismiss the multi-district concussion litigation against them, arguing that the suit is preempted by the collective bargaining agreements which exist between the league and the players.  The concussion litigation accuses the league of deliberately and fraudulently concealing/ignoring the risk of multiple head concussion incurred during professional football, causing many former players to experience degenerative mental disorders and cognitive decline. According to separate briefs filed by both parties, the Labor Management Relations Act preempts state claims linked to a collective bargaining agreement, making those claims disputable only through arbitration (i.e. through the grievance procedures outlined in the CBAs), not litigation.  Two recent federal court rulings – one in California and another inIllinois– were cited in support of the ...
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California Appellate Court Friendly Venue for Suit Against Kudrow

The Second District Court of Appeal in California has revived a suit against “Friends” star Lisa Kudrow by her ex-manager, Scott Howard, stating that Howard’s expert witness testimony was improperly rejected by the lower courts. Howard brought suit against Kudrow in 2008, alleging that the actress had violated the terms of an oral contract when she declined to pay him a percentage of her earnings. Howard represented Kudrow from 1991 until his termination in 2007 and played a part in getting her the lucrative role of Phoebe Buffay on the NBC sitcom “Friends,” which aired from 1994 to 2004. When Howard first represented Kudrow, the two made an agreement that Kudrow would pay her manager a 10% commission on her income. According to Howard, after Kudrow’s success on “Friends,” where ...
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Weinsteins’ Suit Against ‘Scream’ Writer Williamson is about the Contract, not the Copyrights

On August 23, 2012, California Superior Court Judge Mary Ann Murphy refused to dismiss a suit brought by The Weintstein Co., LLC against ‘Scream’ writer Kevin Williamson.  In essence, the ruling resolved a dispute over whether the action was preempted by the Copyright Act, or was, in fact, a simple contract dispute.  Judge Murphy held that the case could proceed as it is based in contract and The Weinstein Co.had not alleged any copyright infringement or any other acts forbidden by federal law. In its complaint, The Weinstein Co.alleges that Williamson signed over the rights to a film project called “The Shadows” during a settlement agreement the two parties signed back in 2010 to end a production dispute on ‘Scream 4’ (a dispute which resulted in Williamson being relieved from ...
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Armstrong Abandons Fight Against Doping Allegations, Cedes Titles

Late on August 23, renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong announced that he would no longer be continuing his fight against charges brought by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which included allegations that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs and underwent illegal blood transfusions throughout the course of his career.  As a result of declining to challenge these accusations in arbitration, Armstrong will be stripped of his numerous Tour de France titles, and will be banned most elite-level sporting competitions. Armstrong’s concession comes despite his numerous protests against the USADA’s arbitration process, which he has publicly denounced as an unfairly biased “witch hunt.”  He pointed to the nearly 300 drug tests he took throughout course of his career – all negative – as evidence of his innocence, noting “What is the point of all ...
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Texas Woman puts the Cowboys on the Hot Seat in Suit over Bench Burns

Jennelle Carrillo of Cleburne,Texas has filed a lawsuit against the Dallas Cowboys and team owner Jerry Jones after allegedly suffering third-degree burns from sitting on a black marble bench outside Cowboys Stadium while waiting to watch a scrimmage.  The complaint, filed in Tarrant County,Texas, states that Carrillo required hospitalization and skin grafts on her buttocks after spending an unspecified amount of time on the bench in the Texas heat.  Meteorologist Steve Fano of the National Weather Service in Forth Worth noted that the temperature on Aug. 10, 2010 (the day of the alleged injury) was 101 degrees.  Carrillo insists that the stadium should have warned people about the dangers of the proverbial hot-seat: “[n]o signs were posted at or near the bench warning that it was too hot to sit ...
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Update: Lance Armstrong Suit Against Anti-Doping Agency Tossed a Second Time

On August 20, 2012, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of the Western District of Texas threw out a suit brought by renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (“USADA”), who claims that the USADA’s arbitration procedures would deny him due process of law.  The allegations brought by the USADA against Armstrong include accusations of performance enhancing drug use in violation of anti-doping rules, charges which could strip him of his seven Tour-de-France titles.  A nearly identical suit brought by Armstrong was dismissed without prejudice in July, with the court allowing Armstrong to re-plead the case in an amended complaint.     However, in dismissing the case, Judge Sparks held that the court did not have the jurisdiction to intervene in the proceedings, pointing to an arbitration agreement signed by Armstrong ...
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Ninth Circuit Refuses to Rescue “Die Hard” Director

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the request of John McTiernan, director of “Die Hard” and “Predator”  to reverse his guilty plea of making false statements to the FBI. In 2010, McTiernan pled guilty to lying to federal investigators about an illegal wiretapping operation carried out by private investigator Anthony Pellicano. Federal investigators questioned McTiernan in 2006 to ask whether he had any knowledge of Pellicano’s wiretapping. The director denied knowledge. However, the FBI had obtained a phone recording between McTiernan and Pellicano which indicated that McTiernan was aware of the wiretapping operation. McTiernan pled guilty to lying to the FBI in 2006, then later won a Ninth Circuit remand of his plea in order to determine if the recording evidence was usable in court. In 2007, a ...
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ChampionsWorld Shut Out in Antitrust Suit Against US Soccer

The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and Major League Soccer (MLS) recently prevailed in an antitrust suit brought by former soccer promoter ChampionsWorld LLC in Illinois federal court. ChampionsWorld had claimed that USSF perpetuated the idea that it was in charge of all professional soccer in the U.S. (including games played by foreign teams) in order to restrain competition against MLS, thereby driving ChampionsWorld out of business. The federal judge ruled for the US soccer bodies by granting USSF’s petition to confirm an arbitration award which gives MLS and USSF the power to sanction and levy fees forUSgames involving teams affiliated with Federation International de Football Association (FIFA). ChampionsWorld representative Carmelo Stillitano argued that the arbitration award should be denied because ChampionsWorld was unable to present its case in arbitration ...
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Former Oriole Murrary Enters Into Settlement with SEC

Former Baltimore Orioles player and MLB Hall of Famer Eddie Murray has agreed to pay over $358,000 to settle insider trading allegations brought against him by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  The SEC accuses Murray of making more than $235,000 in a trading scheme involving another former Oriole, Doug DeCinces and James V. Mazzo, the former CEO of Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. (“AMO”).  The SEC’s complaint asserted that multiple tipoffs from Mazzo to DeCinces – and eventually, from DeCinces to Murray and others – lead to over $2.5 million in profits for those who acted on the inside information.  Previously, Mazzo and DeCinces lived in the sameLaguna Beachgated community, and were close friends.  The SEC’s case is built in part on Mazzo’s access to the privileged information and DeCinces ...
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