Tag Archives: First Amendment

Ruling on Field Stands for High School Coach Suspended for Praying on 50-yard Line

On August 23, 2017, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction by Bremerton High School football coach Joseph Kennedy, who accused the school of violating his First Amendment rights by prohibiting him from praying on the 50-yard line immediately after football games. The prayers had started with just Kennedy on the field, but some players joined in over the years, and the prayers evolved into short motivational speeches. Although the praying took place after the games, students and parents were still…

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FanDuel Argues First Amendment Protects Use of NCAA Players’ Names and Likenesses

On Tuesday, June 26, 2016, FanDuel asked an Indiana federal court to dismiss it from a putative class action accusing daily fantasy sports operators of profiting off the unauthorized use of former NCAA athletes’ names and likenesses. It contended that its use of the names and likenesses was protected by the First Amendment. FanDuel has had trouble with using the NCAA as a portion of its daily fantasy sports platform before, as back in March it had to reach a deal with the NCAA agreeing…

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Redskins to Benefit From Federal Circuit’s Ruling in TM Action

On December 22, 2015, the Federal Circuit came to a conclusion regarding the government’s ban on “disparaging” trademark registrations that will likely support the Washington Redskins in its attempt to recover cancelled trademarks. The Federal Circuit held, in a similar case, that it is unconstitutional for the government to prohibit trademark registrations that it deems to be “disparaging,” as such action violates the First Amendment. Tuesday’s ruling occurred in a similar case, where Seattle-based rock band — The Slants — were refused a trademark…

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First Amendment Law Professors Back Redskins’ Argument on Appeal

On October 29, 2015, a notable group of First Amendment law professors filed an amicus brief with the Fourth Circuit, supporting the Redskins’ argument that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is in violation of the First Amendment. The case, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse, is currently pending in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals where the Redskins have been fighting to reclaim their trademarks that were cancelled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) last year. The PTO’s revocation of the marks, which…

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Home Ice Advantage: Blackhawks Apparel Prohibited in Parts of Amalie Stadium

Rules directed towards away-team supporters in Tampa Bay Lightning’s Amalie Stadium have sparked controversy and raised First Amendment concerns for some. Fans in Amalie Stadium are prohibited from wearing away-team apparel in exclusive club seating areas. Those areas account for approximately 1,400 seats out of the arena’s 20,500 total. Also, in order to purchase tickets, fans must use a credit card associated with a Florida zip code. Bill Wicket, executive vice president of communication for the Tampa Bay Lightning, commented on the restrictions: “[d]uring…

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Judge Blocks Jordan’s 3-Point Attempt in Right of Publicity Lawsuit

Jordan’s bid to win the right of publicity lawsuit without going to trial failed as a federal district court refused to rule that Jewel’s use of his likeness violated relevant state law as matter of law. On March 12, District Judge Gary Feinerman denied Jordan’s motion for summary judgment, finding that there remained an unanswered legal question of “the extent to which the scope of the . . .  state laws . . . is coextensive with the Supreme Court’s constitutional commercial-speech doctrine.” To establish…

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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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Supreme Court Denies NCAA’s Petition to Get “In The Game”

On January 13, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the NCAA’s request to intervene as a party in Keller v. Electronic Arts Inc.  The Keller case stems from 2009 and involves “rights of publicity” and antitrust claims. Former college football players alleged that the EA violated their right of publicity and conspired with the NCAA by using their image and likeness in its videogames.  In EA’s appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the NCAA was not immune to the players’ claims because the depictions in…

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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…

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Court Rules ‘Bachelor’/’Bachelorette” Casting Directors Free to Give Roses to Applicants of Their Choosing

A Tennessee federal judge dismissed a race bias class action against ABC Inc. and the producer of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” determining that the show’s casting decisions are “part and parcel of the creative process behind a television program” and therefore protected by the First Amendment. Individuals Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson filed the suit in April, alleging that ABC intentionally excluded minorities from the hit reality series, thereby perpetuating “outdated racial taboos.” Although “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” have aired for a combined total of…

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