Green Jacket Flak – Augusta National Sues to Stop Sale of Championship Threads

On March 11, 2013, U.S. District Judge Emily Tobolowsky granted a temporary injunction to the Augusta National Golf Club, which suspends the sale of a fabled green jacket by the Dallas-based company Heritage Auctions. The dispute between Augusta National and Heritage Auctions arose in February when Dr. Stephen Pyles, a golf memorabilia collector from Florida, attempted to sell Art Wall Jr.’s green jacket from the 1959 Masters Tournament.  Pyles had purchased the jacket at a similar auction last year for $61,452.55.   However, Augusta National claims that the jacket purchased by Pyles was one of four green jackets to be stolen from the club last year (the other three have since been recovered).  A trial has now been ordered to resolve the ownership issue. Pyles and Heritage Auctions assert that Augusta ...
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Washington Redskins Tackle Challenge to Team Name

On February 7, 2013, the NFL’s Washington Redskins were forced to defend the validity of six of the team’s trademarks to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.  Several Native American Petitioners have claimed that the Redskins’ name and logo are disparaging and offensive to Native Americans – making them barred from trademark protection under the Lanham Act.  Jesse A. Witten, counsel for the Native Americans, noted, “We are focused on the word “Redskin’ and no other matter.  ‘Redskin’ is an ethnic slur.  It is an epithet.” This is not the first time a group of Native Americans have sought to invalidate the six trademarks at issue.  Attempts to change the team’s name in 1992 and 2006 both failed.  Further, the Petitioners faces an uphill battle ...
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Al Gore Currently in Court over Al Jazeera Sale

Former Vice President Al Gore, Current TV LLC and others were recently sued in California state court by John Terenzio, an entertainment consultant from the Los Angeles consulting firm TAP, Inc.  Terenzio accuses Gore and the other defendants of selling Current TV to the Al Jazeera Media Network two months ago without providing Terenzio the compensation he claims he is owed for setting up the terms of the transaction with the Qatar-based media giant.  The suit for breach of implied agreement seeks at least $5 million in compensatory damages. Al Jazeera’s January move to acquire Current TV was part of its strategy to set up a New York-based U.S. news channel.  Its acquisition of Gore’s struggling company will double the number of U.S. workers Al Jazeera employees to over 300. ...
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NCAA Program Allows “Exceptional” Athletes to Hedge Against Loss of Future Earning Potential

“Prediction is Very Difficult, Especially about the Future” – Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr may not have had sports in mind when he said this but, yes, predicting the future is hard and that is exactly what makes sports so exciting. Whether it’s the big, unexpected play with only seconds left on the clock or a Cinderella story at a National Championship – unpredictability is why we watch the game. Despite the difficulty, we like to predict the future of star athletes. One big question surrounding any star collegiate athlete, especially at draft time, is “what is that athlete going to make in the big leagues?” Following an athlete’s transition from college to the pros is exciting. Alas, disabling injuries in college sometimes keep that athlete from moving up to ...
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NCAA Returns Favor, Files Lawsuit Against Pennsylvania Over Bill 187 Targeting Penn State Fines

In the continuing soap opera that has emerged from the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) filed its own lawsuit in late February against Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and state treasurer Rob McCord; auditor general Eugene DePasquale; and the chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Mark R. Zimmer. This suit comes just over one month after the Governor’s own lawsuit against the NCAA for the crippling sanctions-including a $60 million fine-the NCAA imposed on Penn State as a result of criminal acts involving minors committed by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The NCAA’s lawsuit stems from a newly enacted bill which requires the fine money which Penn State will be required to pay to the NCAA to remain in Pennsylvania ...
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Choice of Law Provisions Bar NFL Player’s Workers’ Compensation Claims

A group of 15 former National Football League (NFL) players, including former Buffalo Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel, have asked the California Northern District Court to overturn a ruling of an arbitrator who concluded that players could not file for workers’ compensation in California due to choice of law provisions in their contracts.  The defendants include the NFL, the Buffalo Bills, and the New York Giants. Under California law, players who have played at least one or more football games in California (even though they were not members of a California-based team) may have a sufficient basis to file a jurisdictionally-proper claim for workers’ compensation.  As California permits claims for repeated trauma that occur over time, and as more becomes known with respect to the long-term nature of head injuries ...
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Nevada Gambles on Online Poker

On February 21, 2013, the Nevada State Legislature passed Assembly Bill 114, a measure which allows state Governor Brian Sandoval to enter into contracts with other states permitting individuals to gamble in online poker games across state lines. In theory, the law was passed to protect consumers and reduce the amount of illegal online gambling.  In pertinent part, the bill states: “A comprehensive regulatory structure, coupled with strict licensing standards, will ensure the protection of consumers, including minors and vulnerable persons, prevent fraud, guard against underage and problem gambling, avoid unauthorized use by persons located in jurisdictions that do not authorize interactive gaming and aid in law enforcement efforts.”  Later, it reads, “The state of Nevada leads the nation in gaming regulation and enforcement, such that the state … is ...
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1..2..3..4..Court Shows Lohan’s Suit Against Pitbull the Door

U.S. District Judge Dennis R. Hurley recently tossed Lindsay Lohan’s lawsuit against the rapper Pitbull, citing First Amendment protections as grounds for his decision. Lohan filed the suit against Pitbull and several other defendants after the rapper released a 2011 song entitled “Give Me Everything” – a track which included the following lyrics: “So, “I’m tiptoein’ to keep flowin’/ I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan.”  Lohan’s complaint alleged violations of the New York Civil Rights Law (for using her name in advertising/trade without her consent), as well as claims for unjust enrichment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court based its decision on judicial precedent which provides First Amendment protections to speech in the form of artistic expression – protection which, as it did here, can occasionally ...
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Macy’s / J.C. Penney Martha Stewart Lawsuit is Not a Good Thing

On February 20, 2013, department stores  J.C. Penney Inc. and Macy’s Inc. faced off in a new arena – a New YorkState courtroom.  The two retailers are going to trial over Martha Stewart.  Macy’s suit accuses J.C. Penney of attempting to convince Martha Stewart to break her company’s exclusive merchandise contract with the department store chain – a contract Macy’s says gives them the exclusive rights to sell certain Martha Stewart products until 2018.  Part of Macy’s lawsuit reads: “J.C. Penney want[s] to rob Macy’s of market share and destroy the competitive advantage that it enjoys as a result of its existing exclusive agreement with (Martha Stewart Living).” J.C. Penney argues that Macy’s rights to the Martha Stewart merchandise are not nearly as broad as Macy’s claims.  According to J.C. ...
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Mike Tyson Seeks to Punch-Out Former Financial Advisors with Lawsuit

On February 20, 2013, former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and its subsidiary SFX Financial Advisory Management Enterprises Inc. in California state court.  Tyson’s suit accuses the Defendants of damaging him financially by embezzling more than $300,000.00 from Tyson and his wife, along with providing Tyson false financial advice that ended up costing the former star more than $5 million. Tyson has had a financial relationship with the Defendants since 2005.  Later, when the boxer began experiencing financial woes, the Defendants were put in charge of managing Tyson’s bankruptcy trust.  However, instead of making required payments to the IRS – payments which could have helped close the bankruptcy proceeding against him – Tyson noticed that Defendants were not only embezzling ...
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