Penn State Cover-Up Cases Delayed so that the Court Can Analyze Attorney-Client Privilege Issues

Due to issues concerning attorney-client privilege, Pennsylvania judges postponed a preliminary hearing and a trial in the Penn State sexual abuse cover-up cases. The criminal trial of Penn State’s former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley was scheduled to begin next month. They are charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. There was also supposed to be a preliminary hearing this week in a separate case against Schultz, Curley, and former Penn State president Graham Spanier in which they are charged with endangering the welfare of children, criminal conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. Cynthia Baldwin, Penn State’s former general counsel, would likely be a key prosecution witness at these proceedings. She already gave damaging testimony against Schultz, Curley, and Spanier when she testified ...
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Tagliabue Issues Balancing Act Ruling in Pay for Performance

On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, in a balancing act that even Solomon could probably appreciate, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue issued his written opinion (posted at NFL.com) in the pay-for-performance scandal which has plagued the New Orleans Saints. The pay-for-performance scheme created incentives for Saints’ players to render “opposing players unable to play.” In issuing his opinion, Tagliabue noted his belief that it is in the best interest of all parties for me to resolve this issue as completely as possible, so that everyone involved with the NFL has this matter put to rest… Tagliabue found that NFL players had “engaged in conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.”  In fact, he noted that fines normally would be appropriate in this case.  However, ...
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Will Trainers Become the NFL’s New MVPs in Concussion Fight?

Liability concerns stemming from the NFL’s massive multi-district concussion litigation have been affecting changes which may permanently alter the way the game of football is played.  Essentially, the main suit pits former players against the League, accusing the NFL of failing to warn them of the long term risks of concussions and their effect on later-life cognitive decline. Recent changes made by the NFL include alterations to playing surfaces, equipment, and long standing game-play rules.  For example, the League has shortened the kick-off play to reduce the possibility of devastating collisions.  Additionally, a 2002 study performed by doctors for the Minnesota Viking revealed that the rock-like artificial playing surface of the team’s domed stadium was “contributing to the high incidence of concussions.”  As a result, the NFL now requires that ...
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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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