Litigation Between Charles Oakley, MSG, and James Dolan Begins

On January 12, 2018, at a pre-motion conference, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan told the attorney of former New York Knick, Charles Oakley, that his client’s defamation claim against the owner of the New York Knicks, James Dolan, and Madison Square Garden (MSG) would be an “uphill climb.” Oakley’s attorney replied, “A lot of judges say things like that and then reverse course.” As we previously covered, in September 2017, Oakley sued Dolan and MSG for allegedly humiliating him when he was kicked out of MSG and labeled an alcoholic on a radio talk show. On February 8, 2017, Oakley was kicked out of a New York Knicks game at MSG. Security guards told Oakley to leave, and when he refused, the guards threw him to the ground and then escorted him out of the building where he was arrested. Oakley agreed ...
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Cloud Computing Patent Suit Claims Latest Victim: FanDuel

On January 11, 2018, PersonalWeb Technologies, LLC  sued FanDuel, Inc. for infringing five of PersonalWeb’s cloud computing patents. Cloud computing, also known as “the cloud,” is the delivery of on-demand computing resources in everything from applications to data center, sent over the internet on a pay-for-use basis. In the complaint, PersonalWeb alleges that FanDuel’s website uses PersonalWeb’s patented material for the manufacture, use, sale, importation, offer of services, and the distribution of its webpage content. More specifically, PersonalWeb claims that FanDuel illegally uses: (1) a system of locating a particular data item at a location in a data processing system; (2) a system in which a plurality of files are distributed across a plurality of computers; (3) a system comprising hardware including at least a processor, and software, in combination with said hardware; (4) ...
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MLS Joins eSports Phenomenon

On January 12, 2018, Major League Soccer (MLS) announced that it partnered with Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) to create an eSports league, eMLS. The league will feature the best EA Sports FIFA 18 players in the United States and Canada. eSports is a form of competitive video gaming where gamers participate in  tournaments such as the International, the League of Legends World Championship, the Evolution Championship Series, and the Intel Extreme Masters, in order to win cash prizes. Nineteen of the 23 MLS teams will recruit their own players from their local regions to compete in local tournaments. It is unknown why the remaining four teams were not included. From the local tournaments, the MLS teams will narrow their selection down to one player and this player will represent the MLS team in the new eMLS league. This player will also represent their respective MLS team at the ...
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Harvard Law Professor’s Assessment on Attorney’s Fees Sparks Opposition

As we previously reported, lingering issues over the NFL concussion litigation settlement have reemerged. The final settlement established an uncapped fund that would last over a 65-year period, to compensate a class of over 20,000 former NFL players. In May 2017, a collection of law firms representing the players, filed a petition seeking $112.5 million common-benefit fee to compensate the class of attorneys. Unlike traditional common-fund cases where the common-benefit fees are calculated as a percentage of total recovery; in this case, the NFL agreed to pay $112.5 million rather than charge each attorney for the work they did for the class. In September 2017, Judge Anita B. Brody appointed Harvard Law School professor William B. Rubenstein to address questions surrounding the $112.5 million settlement. According to Professor Rubenstein’s assessment, ...
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San Francisco 49ers Must Hand Over Attendee Information

On January 5, 2017, Judge Susan van Keulen granted a class of mobility-disabled persons, suing the San Francisco 49ers and the city of Santa Clara, request for information about people who purchased accessible seating tickets at Levi’s Stadium. The suit originally began in December 2016 when Abdul Nevarez sued the San Francisco 49ers and the city of Santa Clara, owners of Levi’s Stadium, for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Nevarez, who requires the use of a wheelchair for mobility, attended four games at Levi’s Stadium between 2014 and 2016. On each occasion, he faced alleged barriers in terms of accessing the stadium including difficulty locating elevators, accessing the stadium from the parking lots, navigating security checkpoints, accessing the box office ticket window, purchasing tickets in advance, and ...
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Judge Wilken Listens to Additional Arguments on College Athlete Compensation

On January 16, 2018, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken once again presided over a court where a class of college athletes attempted to obtain a judgement that would lift the cap on college athlete’s compensation. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) argued that this most recent class-action suit is barred by the Ninth Circuit’s September 2015 O’Bannon decision. As we have continued to cover, back in 2014, Judge Wilken presided over the O’Bannon decision, where she sided with the college athletes in an antitrust lawsuit led by former University of California at Los Angeles basketball player, Ed O’Bannon. In the case, the issue revolved around the ability of college athletes to profit from their likenesses. Judge Wilken found that the NCAA’s rules banning compensation for student athletes were anti-competitive, but ...
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Ice Cube’s Big3 Moves to Dismiss Champions Complaint

On January 12, 2017, lawyers representing Ice Cube’s Big3 Basketball, LLC asked a New York federal court judge to dismiss a suit brought by Champions League, Inc. (Champions). Back on October 2017, Big3 submitted a memorandum of law in support of its motion to dismiss. As we have previously covered, rapper and actor, Ice Cube, owns the 3-on-3 basketball league, Big3. Big3 is a ten-week season that features several former NBA players, including Ron Artest, Corey Maggette, Kendall Gill, and most recently, Nate Robinson. Champions is similar to Big3, as it also relies on former NBA players to make up teams that play 5-on-5. Back in September 2017, Champions sued Big3 for breaching an agreement that supposedly permitted players to play in both leagues. However, Big3 filed its own lawsuit against ...
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Former USC Linebacker Attempts to Revive NCAA Suit

A former University of Southern California linebacker, Lamar Dawson, again tried to convince the Ninth Circuit to revive his class action suit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12). As we have previously covered, Dawson began the class-action lawsuit in September 2016 alleging the NCAA and Pac-12 violated California law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not paying college football players a minimum wage or overtime. “The reality of the relationship between the students and the universities they work for is that the athletes deserve to be compensated for the enormous value they bring to the universities,” Dawson’s attorney stated. The NCAA and the Pac-12 have consistently argued that not paying college football players is precisely what makes them amateurs. In April 2017, ...
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New York State Collects $3 Million from Legal Fantasy Sports

On January 10, 2017, at a hearing, Peter Schoenke, chairman of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), told the New York State Racing and Wagering Committee that New York State would receive more than $3 million in tax revenue generated between January and November 2017, from daily sports fantasy operations. The $3 million is just an estimate and is expected to increase considering figures from December 2017 have yet to be finalized. The object of the hearing was to review the Daily Fantasy Sports Law passed by the New York State Assembly in 2016. The 2016 law has yet to be finalized, it only implemented a set of temporary regulations and the state only issued 15 permits to operators, including FanDuel, DraftKings, and Boom Fantasy. Yet, the law appears to ...
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Dispute Over the Trademark “Green Jacket” Continues

On January 10, 2018, Green Jacket Auctions filed suit in Georgia federal court and back on January 2, 2018, Green Jacket Auctions filed an identical suit in Florida federal court. Both suits seek to prevent the transfer of the domain name “greenjacketauctions.com” from Green Jacket Auctions to Augusta National, Inc., host of the annual Masters Golf Tournament. Green Jacket Auctions is an online golf memorabilia auctioneer and appraiser. The company was formed in 2006 by its two, and only employees, Ryan Carey and Bob Zafian. According to their website, “Green Jacket Auctions has bought, sold and appraised golf memorabilia for PGA Tour stars, Major Championship winners, golf museums, famous golf clubs, and celebrities … [they have] been discussed on The Golf Channel, and … Sports Collectors Digest and Golf International Magazine.” ...
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