Belly Putter Fans Better Get A New Grip as USGA Proposes Ban

On Wednesday, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Royal & Ancient (R&A) announced a proposed rule change banning players from anchoring their putters to their belly or other part of their body. If approved, the proposed ban will become part of the rules of golf on January 1, 2016. The proposed ban essentially rids the sport from long-handled or ‘belly’ putters. Such putters have been around for a while, but they recently came into the spotlight as three of the past five major champions used them: Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els. Keegan Bradley is one of the strongest opponents of the proposed rule change. According to David Dusek, Deputy Editor of Golf.com, Bradley said, “I’m going to do whatever I have to do to protect myself and ...
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Fantasy Sports: A Real Game-Changer for Employers

“The number of Americans playing in fantasy football leagues has grown exponentially of late, transforming what was once a pastime of a devoted few into a national sensation,” write Goldberg Segalla attorneys Seth L. Laver and Michael P. Luongo. “Most employers are cognizant of the importance of maintaining up-to-date computer use policies, social media protocols and other important workplace regulations, yet they inexplicably miss regulating participation in fantasy sports. Make no mistake, however: fantasy sports has real world implications on the workplace.” This article examines potential liability implications for employers, cases in which fantasy football leagues have led to terminations and resignations, and practical tips for employers to document clear workplace conduct policies that address these potential implications. Read the full article: “Fantasy Sports: A Real Game-Changer for Employers,” Lehigh ...
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NFL Potentially Takes Another Hit in the Concussion Litigation

The latest story in the NFL class action concussion lawsuit spells more potential trouble for the league.  Late last week, news surfaced that the NFL’s retirement board had prior knowledge of the potentially devastating effects caused by long-term head injuries incurred throughout the course of a football career.  In particular, the board’s at-issue report indicated that the league had paid more than $2 million in disability benefits to certain players who had suffered brain injuries, noting that one of those players (ex-Pittsburgh Steeler center Mike Webster) had developed his disabilities while still “an active player.” In essence, the underlying class action suit alleges that the league knowingly downplayed the risks of concussions and their potential to cause later-life cognitive decline.  Previously, the league had maintained that through the late 2000s, ...
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Injured Texans Punter Kicks Back at Reliant Stadium Owners Over Unsafe Turf

Former Houston Texans punter Brett Hartmann sued the owners of Reliant Stadium for negligence over the career-threatening knee injury he sustained last December due to allegedly “unsafe turf.” The grass at Reliant Stadium is laid out in approximately 1,200 8′ x 8′ squares, which creates thousands of seams that threaten players’ safety, one of which resulted in Hartmann’s injury. Grass turf in most other stadiums consist of a single piece, posing little to no threat of unexpectedly snagging a player’s foot.  Hartmann alleges that the owners failed to satisfy their duty to provide “players with a reasonably safe playing surface, including preventing unreasonable risks of harm” because of the thousands of seams in the field at Reliant Stadium. Hartmann was not the only NFL player to sustain an injury at ...
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Pandora Opens Box of Copyright Issues with Proposal to Congress

Over one hundred artists signed an open letter to be published in this weekend’s Billboard Magazine, making it abundantly clear that they oppose Pandora’s stance on The Internet Radio Fairness Act, which would decrease the royalty rates paid by Internet radio companies. Signees include crowd favorites such as Katy Perry, Rihanna, Pink Floyd, Jimmy Buffett and Billy Joel. The artists grouped together to ask Pandora why they are begging Congress to step in and “gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon” when they can just as easily work together as partners to continue bringing fans the great musical experience they rightly expect. “This issue is critical to the tens of thousands of recording artists we represent — all of whom rely on this digital performance revenue stream to ...
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GUEST ANALYSIS: Cleveland Indians Sent to Dugout – Appeal to 6th Circuit to Stay in the Game

What was supposed to be a fun-filled day at the Cleveland Indians ballpark turned tragic.  An inflatable slide set up just outside the ballpark as part of a promotional event, collapsed killing one visitor and hurting another.  A subsequent investigation found that the slide had not been properly installed. The families of the deceased and injured visitors filed suit.  This particular case deals who’s going to pay. Let’s rewind back to the beginning of the 2010 baseball season.  The Indians had hired National Pastime Sports (“NPS”) to run its promotional events which included the inflatable slide.  NPS agreed to add the Indians to its Commercial General Liability policy and to also purchase special events coverage would which cover these types of inflatable structures.  The policy was issued through CSI Insurance ...
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UPDATE: Players Respond to NFL’s Motion to Dismiss Concussion Litigation

On October 31, 2012, lawyers representing thousands of former NFL players filed an opposition brief to the NFL’s current motion to dismiss pending in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania, insisting that based on the gravity of the harm incurred, their lawsuit against the League must be allowed to move forward.  The brief rejected the NFL’s contention that the action was essentially a labor dispute that needed to be resolved under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The Plaintiffs accused the NFL of “orchestrat[ing] a disinformation campaign,” insisting that the League “knew that players were exposed to risks of severe neurological injuries yet did nothing to prevent them.”  However, the League has, time and again, publicly denied that it knew of any long-term dangers posed by concussions.  Further, the NFL insists that ...
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Pageant Mom Reigns Supreme with Settlement in Suit Against Tabloids

On November 6, 2012, the mother of Isabella Barrett (a child who appeared on TLC’s child beauty pageant television show ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’) settled a libel lawsuit filed against TMZ and the Daily Mall, two media outlets who allegedly “sexualized” the child’s performance at a January charity event in several news articles.  The complaint, which originally sought $10 million from each of the defendants, accused the media outlets of portraying Isabelle in a manner that was “perceived sexually, erotically and pornographically by the readership of the articles [placing her] in serious physical danger, attracting the attention of others who would seek to sexualize a child.” In addition to approving the undisclosed settlement amount, New York Supreme Court Judge Joan M. Kenney ordered TMZ and the Daily Mall to retract the ...
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Mickey, I am Your Father…

The Walt Disney Company recently announced that it will pay just north of $4 billion for George Lucas’ production company, Lucasfilm, Ltd.   Disney, whose recent acquisitions include such entertainment powerhouses as comic book giant Marvel Entertainment and the computer animation company Pixar, revealed that it will continue to produce more films in the “Star Wars’ saga.  Lucas, who was the sole owner of the company baring his namesake, will become the second largest non-institutional shareholder of Disney stock when he receives 40 million shares as part of the deal. Disney Chairman, Bob Iger, praised the deal that will require approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and various non-U.S. merger control regulations.  The merger will allow Disney to acquire the San Francisco based Lucasfilm and its operating businesses in live ...
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Cycling Union Prepares to Come Clean; Armstrong’s Problems Getting Worse?

The United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) recently released its evidence against former cyclist Lance Armstrong.  Though Armstrong has claimed innocence against charges of blood doping and use of banned substances, the evidence provided by the USADA leaves little, if any, doubt that Armstrong was part of what USADA chief executive Travis Tygart called, “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” Armstrong was given a lifetime ban from the sport of cycling in August, and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.  Although his attorney has derided the USADA’s decision as a “one sided hatchet job”, the evidence provided by the USADA is voluminous.  In addition to the testimony of 11 separate teammates, the USADA’s evidence against Armstrong included “direct documentary evidence ...
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