Wilson Hopes Class Action Suit Will be a Swing and a Miss

On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. asked an Illinois Federal Court to dismiss a putative class action suit involving their DeMarini youth baseball bats. The original suit was filed in April by parent Theodore Sheeley. Sheeley purchased a DeMarini youth baseball bat for his son who plays in leagues and tournaments in which all bats must follow USSSA standards. The DeMarini bat Sheeley purchased included the all-important silver sticker, which is reserved for bats that meet all USSSA regulations. Sheeley argues that the bats do not meet the standards and that he and others are left with bats that cannot be used in the diamond. Sheeley believes the bats were specifically marked and advertised as bats that were acceptable under the regulations, leading to consumers relying on ...
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Student-Athletes Want Schools Held in Contempt

Seven NCAA schools failed to meet the court’s deadline to turn over their athlete contact information. The student-athletes that comprise of the 4.4 million member class want the schools to be forced to explain why they missed the deadline. The student information is needed for the proposed concussion settlement process. On June 6, 2017, Judge John Lee extended the opt out or objection date for the NCAA concussion settlement. This settlement has been in the works for some time, but without the cooperation of many colleges. Last month, Judge Lee issued a warning to about two dozen schools that failed to comply. The warning fall on deaf ears at the following schools: Lane College, Lemoyne-Owen College, Saint Augustine’s University, South University, Baton Rouge, The College of New Rochelle, the University ...
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New Jersey Fights Back for Supreme Court Sports Betting Review

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, New Jersey and the state’s Thoroughbred Horseman’s (NJHTA) association made a final push to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether a federal law, PASPA, can prevent New Jersey from repealing its laws banning sports betting in its state. Also referred to as the Bradley Act (the name of the law’s main sponsor, Sen. Bill Bradley), PASPA was intended to stop the spread of sports betting in the United States. Passed in 1992, PASPA stopped new states from legalizing sports betting, but exempted states that already had sports betting on the books. These states include Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. In May, the acting U.S. Solicitor General, Jeffrey Wall, delivered what many believed was the death blow to New Jersey’s challenge to the law’s ...
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Deceased Linebacker’s Estate Sues NCAA

The family of former Pittsburg State (KS) linebacker Zack Langston, who committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest at the age of 26, is suing the NCAA over its handling of concussions. The family alleges that Langston suffered more than 100 concussions while playing at Pittsburg State from 2007-2010, and was either not given the appropriate medical treatment or not treated at all by team doctors. The lawsuit claims that the NCAA has known for decades that severe hits to the head can lead to long-term brain injury, and recklessly ignored these facts by failing to put into place proper concussion-management protocols to protect student-athletes. Langston’s brain was sent to Dr. Ann McKee at Boston University’s Center for Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, and was determined to show the same ...
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Boogaard Wrongful Death Suit Dismissed

On Monday, June 5, 2017, an Illinois federal judge dismissed the remainder of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of former National Hockey League player Derek Boogaard, who died of an alcohol and painkiller-induced overdose on May 13, 2011. A subsequent examination of Boogaard’s brain led to the determination that he was suffering from Stage II chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE., at the time of his death, which researchers attributed to “repeated blows to the head during his hockey career.” The lawsuit against the NHL alleged that the league knew or should have known that players with brain damage are more susceptible to drug addiction and that “enforcers” such as Boogaard had an increased risk of developing addictions to prescription pain medications. The decision to toss the case ...
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NCAA Athletes Granted Deadline Extension to Opt Out of Concussion Settlement

Judge John Lee, an Illinois federal judge, extended the opt out or objection date for the NCAA concussion settlement. Class members now have until August 4, 2017 to exclude themselves or object to the settlement. The settlement impacts an estimated 4.4 million current and former NCAA student-athletes in 43 different sports. In July 2016, Judge Lee pre-approved the $75 million settlement fund. The proposed fund earmarks $70 million for a 50-year medical monitoring program to screen student-athletes for head injuries. The additional $5 million will be used for researching preventive measures and concussion effects. Besides the funds, the NCAA would be required to revamp their concussion protocols. Each athlete will under a pre-season baseline test to better diagnosis any concussion suffered during the season. If a concussion is diagnosed, the ...
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UNC Attempts to Block NCAA’s Latest Allegations Over “Sham” Classes

On Friday, May 26, 2017, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill made public their response to the NCAA’s third, and latest, NCAA notice of allegation of sham course for athletes. Their response included that the classes in question were available to all students and any irregularities were academic in nature and not subject to NCAA enforcement. The NCAA’s latest notice of allegations were filed at the close of 2016, and accused UNC of providing improper extra benefits to student-athletes so that they could remain eligible for athletic competition. These allegations stem from a 2014 investigatory report by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein. The report found that from 1993–2011, more than 3,100 UNC students took classes in the African-American and Afro-American Studies department, which did not require attendance. The ...
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U.S. Solicitor General Won’t Support Sports Betting in New Jersey

It may soon be another sad day in New Jersey for fans that enjoy betting on their favorite sport. A bill led by New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone would have the Supreme Court overturn “the 25-year-old prohibition on state authorization of sports betting.” However, on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, United States Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall recommended that the Supreme Court deny New Jersey’s certiorari petition. There have been recent studies that the Supreme Court follows the recommendation of the Solicitor General 79.6 percent of the time. New Jersey has been wrestling with this gambling issue for years. In 2011, a state referendum amended New Jersey’s constitution, paving the way for lawmakers to develop a way to regulate gambling activity on spots. But after the NCAA and various professional sports leagues ...
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Class-Action Suit Against Riddell Dropped

A class-action lawsuit brought against Riddell by former high school and college football players has been dropped. The former players had alleged that Riddell, the NFL’s official helmet maker from 1989 to 2014, misrepresented the degree of safety provided by helmets manufactured by the company. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that Riddell falsely claimed in advertising and marketing materials that its Revolution helmets would reduce concussions by 31 percent compared to other helmets on the market, without ever testing them for the type of hits which cause the most concussions. The plaintiffs also alleged that Riddell failed to warn their customers of the long-term risks of repeated head injuries suffered while wearing the helmets. Riddell responded by describing the suit as “overt lawyer self-promotion and meritless litigation,” and now, the plaintiffs ...
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