Update: Arguments Heard on Special Investigator in NFL Concussion Settlement

As we have previously reported, the NFL continues to sort through the claimants involved in its billion dollar concussion settlement. The claimants are former NFL players and families of deceased players seeking to recover against the NFL for concussive injuries resulting from their time spent playing for the league. On May 30, 2018, counsel for the NFL, Richard Tarlowe, asked a Pennsylvania federal judge during arguments to bolster the investigation of legitimate claims by supplementing the process with an additional investigator. Recent audits completed…
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Former NFL Player Sues NFLPA for ERISA Violation

On May 22, 2018, Christopher Hudson, a former Jacksonville Jaguar, Chicago Bear, and Atlanta Falcon safety, filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL Management Council, the National Football League Players Association, and the retirement board (defendants), alleging that a class of players suffering from various injuries were denied crucial information on how to request disability benefits under their retirement plan. Hudson’s lawsuit seeks recovery, under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), for a class of players who were beneficiaries of the Bert…
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NFL Issues New Anthem Rules

On May 23, 2018, all 32 NFL team owners voted to approve a policy statement that would require players to stand during, and show respect for, the national anthem. However, if a player did not want to stand for the national anthem, then he must remain in the locker room. If a player decides to protest the national anthem by kneeling, or disrespecting the anthem or the flag in any way, then the team, not the player, will be fined. According to NFL Commissioner Roger…
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Football Helmet Maker Fends Off Another Concussion-Related Lawsuit

The country’s largest helmet manufacturer, Riddell, filed a motion to dismiss on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, in a suit brought by a class of former high school football players in August. The players allege Riddell’s negligence, failure to warn, and design defects caused the athletes’ current long-term brain and neurocognitive injuries. Riddell argues the players’ design defects claim is contradicted by their complaint that also cites a 2002 product label that warned “[c]ontact in football may result in concussion-brain injury which no helmet can prevent.”…
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Who’s Next? Patent Holder Targets NFL in Latest Lawsuit

Virtual Gaming Technologies LLC (VGT) is no stranger to filing infringement suits against fantasy sports operators. This week, the patent holder has filed lawsuits against FanDuel, DraftKings, Fox Sports, ESPN, Draftpot, and DraftDay. On November 5, 2015, the company targeted a new defendant—the National Football League. In its complaint, filed in the Eastern District of Texas, the company alleges that the NFL Interactive Gaming Platform infringes upon its patents which similarly offer live scoring in relation to player performance. The plaintiff patent holder…
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Third Circuit Will Revisit New Jersey Sports Betting Decision

On Wednesday, October 14, 2015,  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit granted New Jersey’s request to revisit its decision to disallow New Jersey from legalizing sports betting. Last October, New Jersey lifted its prohibition on sports betting in racetracks and casinos. In response, the NFL and NCAA—two sports leagues that oppose sports betting—sought an injunction to stop New Jersey. The district court granted the injunction and subsequently found that repealing the prohibition violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.…
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More ex-NFL Players Oppose the Concussion Settlement

Ten former NFL players filed their brief opposing the NFL’s settlement plan that is now before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals for review, citing that the plan unfairly excluded players who have yet to be diagnosed with CTE, a degenerative brain condition. The opposing players argue that the plan overlooks a potential 19,000 players who are likely to develop neurological diseases but have yet to be diagnosed with any. A lawyer for the players said, “It is the height of hypocrisy for the parties…
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Running Out of Air: NFL Commissioner Upholds Brady Four-Game Suspension

On Tuesday, July 28, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the four-game suspension imposed on New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady on May 11.  The NFL announced that Goodell’s decision to uphold the suspension was based on the Wells Report and evidence that came to light during the ten-hour appeal hearing last month. Specifically, Goodell noted that Brady’s destruction of his cell phone was a factor in upholding the suspension.  He explained how Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages during the four months that the…
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Marcus Mariota – Conflict Inevitable in Contract Negotiation

In 2011, the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association reworked their collective bargaining agreement, which brought a major change to the structure of rookie contracts. Gone were the days of massive dollars for players yet to play a down in the NFL. In their place: structured, cookie-cutter deals that have a fixed compensation value based on which slot in the draft the player is selected. Every contract is for the same length of time as well. The goal was to streamline…
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Growing Up Big and Strong: FanDuel Raises $275M in Financing

On Tuesday, July 14, daily fantasy sports website FanDuel Inc. announced that it brought in $275 million after closing a round of financing, bringing its total venture capital funding to $363 million.  The funding is led by private equity firm KKR, Google, and Time Warner, and the company stated that it plans to use the financing to boost customer acquisition efforts, introduce new products, and build its management team. Additionally, the company noted that several NFL and NBA team owners participated in the funding round…
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