NFL Star Considering Malpractice Suit

A recent contract negotiation blunder may result in a hefty malpractice claim by a professional football player against his agent.  The former agent for NFL defensive end, Elvis Dumervil, is in hot water over his handling of Dumervil’s contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos.  Due to his agent’s failure to timely transmit an executed contract to the team worth $8 million per year, Dumervil is unemployed and considering a suit. NFL teams must decide whether to release or retain players by a league…
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Were the NFL & Riddell Out of Bounds for Rejecting Competitor’s Potentially Concussion Reducing Helmet?

Industrial designer Phil Straus began thinking of ways to lessen the impact of football head injuries and concussions in the late 1980s.  After several years of work Straus developed a prototype of the “ProCap” in 1989 by attaching a half-inch-thick urethane mold on top of traditional football helmets.  His work showed signs of promise in lab tests, and later gained acceptance by a number of NFL players who swore that the invention functioned as advertised.  Mark Kelso, former Buffalo Bills free safety, swore by the…
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Athletes Awarded Millions from California’s Workers Compensation System

All states allow athletes to be awarded workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained during their playing days.  However, California has emerged as a favorite jurisdiction for two reasons.  First, California is one of the few states that allow athletes to claim injuries for the cumulative effect of injuries over time, or what some jurisdictions would call either an “occupational disease” or “cumulative injury.”  Second, California has extremely lax personal jurisdiction requirements. Ordinarily, a claimant in a workers’ compensation claim would need to establish residency or…
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NFL Goes 0 for 2 Against Insurance Companies in Court

The National Football League is now 0-2. It lost yet another round on the legal gridiron last week when New York State Supreme Court Judge, Jeffrey K. Oing, ruled that the lawsuit between the NFL and its insurance companies could proceed in NY.  This is despite the fact that the NFL filed a similar lawsuit in California first. This echoes a previous ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Shepard Wiley Jr. who held last fall that California was the wrong venue to deal…
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NY AG Says NFL Can’t Fish for Information about Player’s Sexual Orientation at Combine

On March 14, 2013, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent a warning letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after rumors emerged that the league was asking players about their sexual preferences when they reported to the scouting combine – employer behavior which is illegal in many jurisdictions.   The questions at issue were directed to three incoming college players who were allegedly asked whether they had girlfriends, whether they were married, or whether or not they “liked girls.” New York prohibits prospective employers from discriminating…
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Nintendo Clobbered by Tomita with $30 Million Verdict in Patent Litigation

On March 13, 2013, a jury awarded a $30.2 million dollar verdict to Tomita Technologies International Inc. in its patent infringement with the Nintendo Co. Ltd.  Tomita’s suit accused Nintendo of infringing on its “Stereoscopic imaging picking up and display system based upon optical axes cross-point information” patent (which displays 3-D images viewable without special glasses) by using the technology in Nintendo’s 3DS hand-held video game system.  . Seijiro Tomita (the founder of Tomita Technologies) spent 30 years working at Sony as an engineer/inventor, and…
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The Islamic Republic of Iran takes on Producers of ‘Argo’

Iran is considering suing the producers of Argo claiming that the Oscar winning best picture provided an unrealistic portrayal of the country during the seizure of the United States Embassy in 1979.  The decision to potentially litigate resulted from a recent screening of the film by Iranian cultural officials and movie critics in Tehran as part of an event entitled “The Hoax of Hollywood”.  The Iranian government alleges that the film is an attack on Iranian culture and international cultural norms. The film depicts the…
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NFL Teams Up with GE to Fund New Concussion Research

On March 11, 2013, the National Football League and the General Electric Co. announced that they are teaming up to create a Head Health Initiative that will provide $60 million dollars to assist leading neurologists in researching traumatic brain injuries and developing technology able to monitor these ailments.  $40 million will go towards developing imaging technologies, and the remaining $20 million will be available to others who seek to prevent, identify, and develop treatments for brain injuries.  Athletic apparel company Under Armour will also be…
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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…
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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…
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