NFL Settles for $765 Million in Concussion-Related Lawsuits

The National Football League has agreed to settle the massive class action litigation brought against it by more than 4,500 former football players who alleged that the league intentionally downplayed the risks of concussion-related head injuries and their long-term effects on cognitive decline. Former United States District Judge Layn Phillips, the court-appointed mediator, announced that the NFL will contribute $765 million to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired NFL players. The settlement will also pay for medical and safety research, and cover litigation expenses for the former players. The proposed settlement still needs to be approved by United States District Judge Anita Brody. Lawyers were due back in court on September 3. Instead, Judge Phillips announced in court files on August 29 that the case has settled. She ...
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NCAA, University Sued Following Football Player Death

The parents of a Frostburg State University football player, who allegedly died after repeated head injuries suffered on the field, have accused coaches at the Maryland school of organizing high-risk drills that caused players to suffer repeated blows to the head. In the wrongful death lawsuit, Derek Sheely is alleged to have been allowed to return to the playing field despite prior bleeding from his forehead during several consecutive practice sessions in August 2011. Sheely was allegedly never checked for a concussion. The lawsuit alleges that the coaches treated all injuries, including concussions, in the same dismissive manner. This allegedly meant players were expected to play through the pain. The lawsuit also names head coach Thomas Rogish, helmet manufacturer Schutt Sports, and the NCAA (among others) as defendants. The lawsuit ...
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Costner Claims Robin Hood Production Company is Robbing From the Rich, Giving to Themselves

On August 8, 2013, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Stone denied, for a second time, actor Kevin Costner’s claim that Morgan Creek Productions Inc. fraudulently denied him profits from the 90’s hit film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  However, Judge Stone granted the actor leave to amend the complaint to re-plead a claim for fraud keeping alive the possibility for a damages award more significant than one based solely on breach of contract. In his decision, Judge Stone found insufficient facts to support an independent claim for fraud, and noted that all of the allegations for the fraud cause of action were predicated on the alleged contractual duties already imposed on MorganCreek.  Judge Stone further held that the company that produced the movie was already obligated, pursuant to contract, ...
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Score One for the Good Guys: NCAA Reverses Decision Banning Former Marine from the Field

The NCAA has reversed its previous decision that prevented former U.S. Marine Sergeant Steven Rhodes from playing football this season.  The original story can be read here.  But, thanks to a massive outpouring of support and publicity, the NCAA now says that Rhodes can play immediately. The original decision caught some flak in all forms of media.  Major news organizations around the country picked up the story after it broke on Sunday, August 18, 2013.  In addition, the NCAA was crushed by internet activists.  Twitter members around the world tweeted their support, including a tweet by U.S. Senator John McCain. The news came as a surprise to all involved because they expected the appeals process to take weeks.  Instead, it took just 24 hours.  The Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) ...
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NCAA “Battles” Former Marine Sergeant

Steven Rhodes, a former US Marine sergeant, just finished five years of active duty.  Now, he is going after his dream of playing college football.  He was a walk-on to the Middle Tennessee State (MTS) football team this summer and has been practicing as a tight end and defensive lineman.  Rhodes is, however, appealing an NCAA rule that prevents him from playing football this season. The NCAA says he won’t see any game time this year because of a league he played in during his time serving the country.  The Daily News Journal said NCAA rule 14.2.3.2.1 would be violated if he played. [T]he rule essentially says that student-athletes that do not enroll in college within a year of their high school graduation will be charged one year of intercollegiate ...
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A-Rod: Not Going Down without a (Malpractice) Fight

Alex Rodriguez’s newest target is apparently the Yankees’ team physician. According to reports, A-Rod is exploring a potential malpractice suit against team doctors for “deliberately misdiagnosing” an injury that may have contributed to his woeful performance in 2012.
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More Former Players Sue NFL for Concussions

On Tuesday, August 13 eighty-three more National Football League (NFL) players sued the NFL regarding concussions related injuries. According to the Washington Times, Pro Bowl players Clinton Portis and Daunte Culpepper were among the players that filed suit. The complaint alleges that Portis suffers from headaches and is “at a heightened risk of developing further adverse neurological symptoms in the future.” Earlier this year, Portis stated that he suffered a number of concussions while playing.  He couldn’t give an exact number because there were so many that he “stopped counting at some point.” According to Portis. I’d get hit hard and be woozy …[and] dizzy.  I’d take a play off and then go back in.  Sometimes when I went back into the game, I still couldn’t see straight. Occasionally, this ...
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Stemming the California Workers’ Compensation “Gold Rush”: AB 1309

As the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider has detailed in a prior article, California remains a popular site for current or former professional athletes to file workers’ compensation claims with its relaxed rules on the filing of cumulative trauma-type claims.  However, this may be coming to an end shortly. As recently estimated by Gary Toebben, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, 4,500 claims have been filed with up to another 5,000 claims pending, resulting in nearly $750 million in workers’ compensation payments with more payments on the way.  Mr. Toebben cites multiple examples of athletes receiving large pay-outs in California, despite the fact that they played out their careers elsewhere, including Terrell Davis of the Denver Broncos ($199,000) and Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys ...
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Do the NFL and Its Fans Care About Steroids?

In the wake of the notorious Alex Rodriguez/Biogenesis/performance enhancing drug (PED) scandal, fans have been questioning the lack of response from various other sporting organizations. The Biogenesis scandal has implicated more than just MLB players. Indeed, athletes from the NBA, MMA, tennis and NCAA have also been caught up in this scandal. Surprisingly, no players from the NFL have been implicated. Since 2010, the NFL has adhered to its own steroid policies, which appears to be working.  Specifically, the NFL created the National Football League Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances to explain its policies on testing, prohibited substances, and punishments for the parties that fail the test. Substances prohibited by the 2010 policy include: anabolic steroids; peptide hormones (hGH, hCG, IGF-1, etc.); beta-2 agonists (clenbuterol, etc.); diuretics and ...
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Burden on MLB to Justify A-Rod Suspension

A disgruntled former employee of Biogenesis of America, a Coral Gables, Florida “Anti-Aging Clinic,” angry over unpaid wages, leaked records indicating that as many as 20 Major League Baseball (MLB) players were purchasing banned performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), including Human Growth Hormone (HGH), testosterone, and anabolic steroids. Biogenesis was an “anti-aging” clinic owned by Anthony Bosch, just across U.S. 1 from the University of Miami, housed in what was once a motel.  Biogenesis offered its mostly wealthy clients assistance in weight loss, physical fitness, and in some cases psychological services. Although Bosch is not a physician, he wore a lab coat with “Dr. Tony Bosch” on it, giving the impression that he was a doctor. Based on the leaked Biogenesis records, MLB sued the owner of the Biogenesis, Bosch, alleging that ...
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