New York Task Force on Jockey Health and Safety to Make Recommendations in March 2014

The New York Task Force on Jockey Health and Safety, formed in 2013, was created to “assess, investigate and research issues involving safety and health of jockeys who regularly race at the Thoroughbred racetracks in New York State.”  The task force, comprised of seven Governor-appointees includes various professionals from the racing industry, including attorneys, jockeys, and risk management professionals and is tasked to evaluate the current status of jockey benefits, including “health, life, disability, pension, or other similar benefits” and how the racing industry can…
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Simpson’s Voice Man, Hank Azaria, Wins Copyright Dispute over ‘Funny or Die Video’

Hank Azaria, an actor who provides the voices for several characters on the long-running hit TV show The Simpsons, recently won a California federal court dispute over the copyright to Jim Brockmire, a fictional baseball announcer.  The fictional character originally premiered in the 2010 “Funny or Die” film entitled “Jim Brockmire, a Legend in the Booth,” a story about a make believe baseball announcer that loses his cool after discovering that his wife had been cheating on him. Azaria filed the lawsuit in November…
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Michael Jordan Wins in 7th Circuit Case over Supermarket Ad

On February 19, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded a lower court’s dismissal of a claim brought by Michael Jordan against Jewel Food Stores.  Jordan’s lawsuit alleged that the grocery store misappropriated his identity for the store’s commercial benefit by running an ad in Sports Illustrated that congratulated the ex-player on his 2009 induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.  Though the ad didn’t feature Jordan himself, it prominently displayed a pair of red and white gym shoes featuring…
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‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Studio Sued for Defamation

On February 18, Andrew Greene filed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against the filmmakers of the recent box office hit “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Paramount Pictures.  Greene’s filing accuses the defendants of defaming him through their portrayal of the character Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff, who Greene asserts was modeled after him.  Greene’s suit states that “the motion picture contains various scenes wherein Mr. Greene’s character is portrayed as a criminal, drug user, degenerate, depraved and/or devoid of any morality.” Several scenes in the movie…
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Updated: The Wells Report Could Mean Big Changes in NFL Workplace Policies; Two Fins Coaches Fired

On February 14th, attorney Ted Wells of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP issued a 144-page report (commonly referred to as the Wells report) to the National Football League concerning the alleged harassment of Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. On October 28, 2013, Martin abruptly walked off the team after a lunch room joke, which he says was the final straw after enduring nearly a year of harassment from his teammates. Martin checked himself into a hospital for mental health help. Amidst bullying…
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Settlement Reached Between Rutgers and the Big East in Exit Fee Dispute

Rutgers University and the former Big East collegiate athletic conference have been fighting in Rhode Island federal court over the amount that the school would pay as an ‘exit fee’ – a penalty levied on Rutgers for leaving the for Big East conference early and joining the Big Ten later this year.  Now, both sides have agreed on a settlement deal where Rutgers will hand over $11.5 million instead of the original $15 million exit fee.  The school has paid a portion of the fee…
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Bengals Cheerleaders File Class Action Against Team Over Compensation

On February 11, 2014, Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Alexa Brenneman filed a class-action lawsuit against the team, accusing the organization of failing to pay their cheerleaders minimum wage.  Brenneman’s suit claims that she was paid only $855 for her work during the 2013 football season, yet worked over 300 hours – meaning that she was making roughly $2.85 per hour.  The minimum wage in Ohio is $7.85 per hour. The Oakland Raiders were recently hit with a similar suit; Raiders’ cheerleaders filed an action in January…
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Minor League Baseball Players Cry Foul – File Lawsuit Seeking Class Action Over Low Wages

A lawsuit filed in federal court seeks to overhaul minor league baseball’s pay scale with three former players arguing low pay, mandatory overtime and lack of collective bargaining rights all violate state and federal wage laws. Minor League Baseball is not a party to the lawsuit. Instead, suit was filed in federal California Northern District Court by former players Aaron Senne, Michael Liberto, and Oliver Odle against Major League Baseball, the Office of the Commissioner, Commissioner Bud Selig and their former teams the Miami Marlins,…
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Former Portland Timbers Soccer Player Files Concussion Lawsuit Against Team

Former Portland Timbers soccer player Eddie Johnson’s lawsuit is the latest development in the ever-evolving arena of concussion lawsuits by amateur and professional athletes.  This is the second concussion suit brought by a player against an MLS club; Bryan Namoff sued DC United in 2012 and that litigation is ongoing. Johnson filed his Complaint in Oregon state court against the team and its medical staff, alleging that his career ended prematurely because they negligently allowed him to play while he was still suffering from concussion-related…
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A-Rod Forfeits in Fight with MLB Over Suspension; Drops Suit Against League

Recently, arbitrator Frederic Horowitz reduced the 211-game suspension of Yankees all-star third baseman Alex Rodriguez to 162 games for A-Rod’s role in the Biogensis performance-enhancing drugs scandal.  A-Rod wasn’t satisfied with the reduction, however, and filed a tortious interference lawsuit against Major League Baseball and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig in New York federal court with the hopes of reversing the suspension entirely. Now, A-Rod’s attorney Joseph Tacopina acknowledged to ESPN that the all-star had filed a voluntary notice of dismissal which effectively dropped the lawsuit. …
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