NCAA Settles Wrongful Death Suit Mid-Trial

On June 15, 2018, the NCAA settled a lawsuit brought by Debra Ploetz, wife of former University of Texas football player, Greg Ploetz. Ploetz played college football from 1968 to 1972 but later died in 2015 from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The lawsuit made it to a Dallas, Texas courtroom, but it was settled after only three days of trial. The lawsuit was seen as a potential landmark case if the jury ruled against the NCAA, which is potentially the reason why the NCAA settled…
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Online Betting Co. Sued By Former Employee

On Monday, June 18, 2018, online horse racing platform Xpressbet LLC was sued in Pennsylvania federal court by former employee John Martinez. Xpressbet allows users to bet live horse races legally online. Martinez claims he was demoted and subsequently fired because he took medical leave. Martinez brings his complaint to recover all available damages for violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). Martinez started working at Xpressbet in 2015…
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USGA Reaches Agreement with Shinnecock Indian Nation Ahead of U.S. Open

The United States Golf Association (USGA) will host the 2018 United States Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York on June 14-17. This will be the fifth time the national championship is held at Shinnecock, and the first time since 2004. The second ever U.S. Open was played at Shinnecock in 1896, which marked the start of a long standing relationship between the USGA and the Shinnecock Indian Nation. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club was constructed on land once owned by the Shinnecock…
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Former Athletes Say NCAA “Hiding the Ball” and Engaging in “Trial by Ambush”

On April 4, 2018 the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider discussed an ongoing lawsuit that was brought by a class of former college athletes seeking to lift the cap on student athlete compensation under NCAA rules. The case is being tried by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, who previously ruled in favor of student athletes on antitrust claims against the NCAA in O’Bannon. In March 2018, Judge Wilken denied the NCAA’s motion for summary judgment and sent the current case to trial. With trial…
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NCAA Loosens Transfer Rules

On Wednesday June 13, 2018, the NCAA changed their stringent transfer rules for their student athletes. In the past, student athletes went through a “permission to contact” process. This process limited their ability to transfer as their current college coaches were able to block the athlete from transferring to certain schools. For example, many coaches would not allow a player to transfer within their own conference. The only way to get around these bars, was for the student athlete to forego receiving financial aid at…
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Over/Under: Two Steps Forward and One Step Back for Legal Betting in New Jersey

On Tuesday, May, 25, 2018 the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider discussed the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to strike down a federal statute controlling the states’ ability to regulate sports gambling. Shortly after, New Jersey became the first state to officially make wagering legal and gain access to the estimated $150 billion market by approving Assembly Bill A-411. However, America’s professional sports leagues did not respond positively to New Jerseys’ legislation. Specifically, the leagues are worried about the potential for corruption and athletes manipulating the…
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Kawhi Leonard’s Former Agent Sues Former Employer

Brian Elfus, a veteran sports agent, represented college basketball standout Kawhi Leonard as he transitioned from San Diego State to the NBA. Elfus is now suing his former boss Mitchell Frankel and his former employer Impact Sports Basketball, Impact, JS Sports Funding LLC, and J&J Sports Agency MM LLC (defendants), for wrongful deprivation of agent fees, which included the agent fees derived from Leonard as well as other professional basketball players and coaches. According to the complaint, “Elfus generated over [$5 million] in commissions…
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Update: LeBron Seeks to Dismiss Infringement Suit

As we have previously covered, LeBron James became the target of an infringement suit in April 2018, after a barbershop owner and host of a University of Alabama talk show alleged that he copied his barbershop-themed show. James’ show, “The Shop”, and the Social Club Grooming Co.’s show, “Shop Talk”, respectively, are comparably themed, and each center on interviewing celebrity guests as they get haircuts. Though the Social Club (the d/b/a of plaintiff, Adventure Enterprises, Inc.) initiated the suit, the ball was first put…
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SCOTUS Declines Opportunity to Reconsider MLB Antitrust Exemption

Major League Baseball’s immunity from antitrust violations under the Sherman Act has been called an “anomaly.” It has also been consistently upheld by courts since 1922, when it was unanimously affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States. The exemption was codified by Congress in the Curt Flood Act of 1998, maintaining an exemption for MLB and its clubs when conducting the “business of baseball” and providing more freedom to players seeking free agency and salary arbitration. Despite striking out with lower courts, two…
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Update: Garcia-Tatupu v. NFL Player Retirement Plan

On June 8, 2018, the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan and the NFL Player Supplemental Disability Plan (defendants), an ERISA-governed multiemployer pension plan which provides retirement and disability benefits to eligible NFL players and their beneficiaries, asked the First Circuit not to reverse the lower court decision that the NFL’s retirement board properly denied claims made by the ex-wife of a late New England Patriots player, Mosiula F. “Mosi” Tatupu. As we have previously covered, more than four years after his 2010…
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