Dustin W. Osborne

All articles by Dustin W. Osborne

 

City of Phanatic Love: Phillies Face Lawsuit Over Beloved Mascot

He’s green, a little mean, and often obscene – it’s the mascot everyone loves to hate, the infamous Phillie Phanatic. After the filing of a new federal lawsuit, however, there’s an ominous question looming of whether the 41-year-old relationship will continue in the city of brotherly love. Back on August 2, 2019, the Philadelphia Phillies filed a copyright lawsuit in federal court against Harrison/Erickson, Inc. (H/E) over the future use of the Phanatic as a mascot.  Reportedly, H/E asserts that its primary members, Bonnie and…  

Bat Out of Court: Meat Loaf Settles Copyright Lawsuit Over “I’d Do Anything For Love”

Multi-platinum musician, Meat Loaf, successfully flew out of the frying pan and into a settlement over a copyright dispute involving his hit song, “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).” Back in 2017, Enclosed Music LLC filed a copyright lawsuit in California, alleging Meat Loaf ripped off “[I’d Do] Anything for You” by Jon Dunmore Sinclair, whose catalog Enclosed owns. The song in question received tremendous accolades and success during its release in 1993; commercially, the album sold more than 14 million…  

Status of Online Sports Betting in New York

New York’s legislature approved back in April 2019 the 2019-20 state budget of $175 billion. Notably, while provisions had been considered for inclusion into the budget regarding online sports betting, lawmakers ultimately nixed the issue from the final version of the budget. Background To date, the most obtrusive hurdle to overcome in the eyes of the legislators is the New York State Constitution. While Governor Andrew Cuomo has no opposition to limited, on-site sports betting at particular upstate casinos, he has consistently maintained that a…  

Caught Stealing: Sports Agent Alleges Financial Adviser Poached Star MLB Client for Scott Boras

On May 10, 2019, sports agent Robert Garber of RMG Sports Group LLC brought suit against financial adviser Bruce Lee, wherein he alleges Lee helped the infamous agent Scott Boras poach Boston Red Sox star J.D. Martinez just in time for Martinez’s big payday. Specifically, per the complaint, Garber represented Martinez from 2010 until 2017, when Martinez was positioned to enter the free agent market. However, just months before signing a $110 million deal with Boston – all of which is guaranteed in Major…  

Caesars, ESPN Reach Media Partnership Deal

On May 14, 2019, ESPN announced a media content partnership with Caesars Entertainment. Similar to Caesars’ deal with Bleacher Report, its LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will host a brand new ESPN-branded studio, where they will produce sports-betting-themed content and contribute to ESPN’s Daily Wager show. In addition to the studio, Caesars will serve as ESPN’s official odds data supplier throughout its platform. Per ESPN’s Vice President of Business Development Mike Morrison, “[w]e are poised to expand our coverage in a big way…  

New York Federal Jury Again Finds Former Adidas Official and Business Manager Guilty Due to Bribery Roles in “Pay-for-Play” NCAA Scandal

On May 8, 2019, a New York federal jury convicted aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins and former shoe company basketball consultant Merl Code of conspiring to bribe assistant college basketball coaches. Back in October 2018, another Manhattan federal jury convicted Dawkins and Code – along with former Adidas executive James Gatto – on conspiracy and fraud charges as a result of yet another trial coming out of this high-profile “pay-for-play” NCAA scandal. Following this conviction, Dawkins and Code were sentenced to six months in prison…  

Judge Denies Elon Musk’s Motion to Dismiss Defamation Lawsuit

On April 26, 2019, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson denied Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit. No detailed order was filed; Judge Wilson simply made a text-only docket entry declining Musk’s request. Back in September 2018, Vernon Unsworth brought suit against Musk, alleging defamation arising out of tweets and emails sent by Musk. Unsworth, who has in excess of 40 years of spelunking experience, played a pivotal role in rescuing a dozen young soccer players trapped in a Thailand cave earlier…  

Series on the Alliance of American Football: The Fall of the AAF

This is the second part of a two-part series chronicling the rise and fall of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). In the first part, we delved into the unprecedented growth of the AAF, much of which was based on an unsustainable dream to bring a successful professional football league to the United States. In this part, we analyze the ultimate collapse of the AAF, a reality of insurmountable debts and a lack of supporting investors. The Failed Hail Mary On April 2, 2019,…  

Changing the Cycle: Peloton Removes Songs at Heart of Copyright Infringement Suit

On March 25, 2019, Peloton ceased use of particular songs in its streaming workout videos. This comes in response to facing a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by music publishers, who argue that Peloton is utilizing music from their artists without permission. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, alleges that Peloton used more than 1,000 songs impermissibly and seeks in excess of $150 million in damages. Additionally, the complaint alleges that much of Peloton’s success can be…  

MillersCoors Requests Injunction, Removal of Bud Light “Corn Syrup” Ads

On March 28, 2019, MillerCoors submitted a brief in support of its motion for a preliminary injunction against Anheuser-Busch, requesting Anheuser-Busch be stopped from airing Bud Light commercials that focus on the inclusion of corn syrup in Miller Lite and Coors Light. Per the request, MillerCoors implores that these ads have caused irreparable harm to the company’s image – an image that has taken “generations” to build. Per the lawsuit, while although MillerCoors admits the use of corn syrup in its products, an important caveat…  

Series on the Alliance of American Football: The Rise of the AAF

As a filmmaker and the son of legendary NBC television executive Dick Ebersol, Charlie Ebersol was motivated to create the Alliance of American Football (AAF) in late 2016 after producing the documentary This Was the XFL for ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series. The Xtreme Football League (XFL) was the 2001 brainchild of Vince McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The XFL, which aired on NBC, was designed to be an extreme version of spring professional football, but it was canceled after only one…  

SCOTUS Settles Circuit Split, Rules Copyright Owners Must Register Prior to Bringing Infringement Lawsuits

On Monday, March 4, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declared that a work must be registered with the U.S. Copyright office prior to the copyright owner bringing an infringement lawsuit. While registration is not required for valid copyright ownership, Section 411(a) provides that a work must be registered prior to bringing a copyright infringement lawsuit. Notably, even if the application is ultimately refused and the registration is denied, the applicant still may bring a civil action. Previously, the circuit courts had been split on what…  

Panel Suggests New York is Closing in on Limited Legalization of Sports Betting Statewide

According to a panel at the Cardozo Sports Law Symposium, New York continues to inch closer to joining neighboring states in legalizing sports betting. The panel, consisting of sports law professionals and state congressmen, discussed the current status of its legalization, impediments that continue to hinder its progress, and the benefits that could ultimately be capitalized upon. As noted by Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., New York need look no further than its neighbors to the south to get a glimpse of the potential sports betting’s…  

NCAA Head Coaches Sean Miller and Will Wade Face Subpoenas in Upcoming Federal Basketball Corruption Trial

On February 25, 2019, reports began circulating that indicate both Arizona head basketball coach Sean Miller and LSU head basketball coach Will Wade will be subpoenaed in connection with the upcoming April 22 federal basketball corruption trial. Back in October, a Manhattan federal jury convicted former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager and aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins, and former Adidas consultant Merl Code of fraud charges arising out of this college basketball pay-for-play scandal. Throughout the course of trial, several NCAA coaches’ names emerged…  

AAF’s Orlando Apollos to Practice in Georgia to Secure Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Players

Beginning in March, the Alliance of American Football’s Orlando Apollos will start practicing in the state of Georgia due to a lack of Workers’ Compensation coverage in its home state. Typically, the vast majority of states’ laws provide workers compensation coverage for professional athletes. However, in Florida, professional athletes are not considered employees under its workers’ compensation laws, thereby preventing these athletes from filing claims for injuries arising out of the course of employment. For teams like the Tampa Bay Rays or Miami Dolphins, the…  

Drawing the Line: Disney CEO Bob Iger Distances ESPN from Sports Betting

Earlier this month, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger dismissed any notion that ESPN has plans to fully engulf itself in the sports betting arena. On Disney’s first-quarter earnings call, Iger was asked whether sports gambling is something that can co-exist within the typically family-friendly Disney Brand.  In a somewhat unexpected response, Iger explained that “I don’t see The Walt Disney Company, certainly in the near term, getting involved in the business of gambling, in effect, by facilitating gambling in any way.  I do think…  

NHL and NHLPA Instill Hope for Peaceful CBA Talks

On Friday, January 25, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman held a press conference surrounding the NHL All-Star Game and implored his desire for peaceful collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations. Given the multitude of lockouts over negotiations in the past, his comments have instilled cautious optimism throughout the fandom of the league. Pursuant to the current CBA in effect, the league and players alike have the option to prematurely terminate the agreement as of September 15, 2020, regardless of the technical end date of 2022. With these…  

Washington D.C. Mayor Signs Sports Betting Legislation

On Wednesday, January 23, Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act, bringing the nation’s capital one step closer to becoming the next American jurisdiction to legalize sports betting. Back in December, the D.C. Council voted 11-2 to legalize sports betting within the city’s stadiums, private businesses, and on a mobile app. Uniquely, this authorization made D.C. the first American jurisdiction without casinos to authorize sports books. With Major Bowser’s signature, the bill now enters a 60-day review period by the…  

At The Goal Line: Rams and PSL Holders Secure Prelimary Settlement Approval

On Thursday, January 24, the Los Angeles Rams and purchasers of personal seat licenses (PSLs) procured preliminary approval of a settlement agreement in the amount of $24 million. By way of brief history, the St. Louis Rams moved to Los Angeles back in 2015. Following this relocation, several St. Louis Rams’ PSL holders brought suit on behalf of more than 46,000 PSL purchasers who secured their PSLs prior to the team’s departure. These multiple lawsuits were ultimately combined into a singular action; this combined action…  

Nirvana Says Stay Away, Demands All Apologies in Lawsuit Against Marc Jacobs

On December 28, 2018, Nirvana LLC brought suit against Marc Jacobs International, claiming copyright and trademark infringement. Nirvana LLC was formed back in 1997 by Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and the Cobain Estate controlled by Courtney Love. Per the complaint, Nirvana argues that the Jacobs fashion brand has taken advantage of its image in misleading customers to believe Nirvana has endorsed or is otherwise associated with Jacobs’ “Bootleg Redux Grunge” collection. In particular, Jacobs has allegedly re-purposed the infamous “Smiley Face” logo created by Kurt…  

NFL Reaches Limited Sponsor Deal with Caesars Entertainment

On January 3, 2019, the National Football League announced its inaugural league-wide sponsorship deal with a casino company, Caesars Entertainment. While the financial terms have not yet been disclosed by Caesars or the NFL, it has been reported that the partnership will run for three years, costing $30 million per year. Previously, seven NFL clubs – the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, and the Philadelphia Eagles – maintained relationships with Caesars. This new deal also comes prior…  

Dance Like Somebody’s Watching: Alfonso Ribeiro of “Fresh Prince” Fame Sues “Fortnite” Creators Over Use of “Carlton Dance”

On December 17, 2018, Alfonso Ribeiro brought a copyright infringement lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit against Epic Games, the creators of immensely popular “Fortnite” video game.  Ribeiro is most famously known for his role on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” where he portrayed Carlton Banks.  In the series, Ribeiro created a “Carlton Dance” that remains widely known, and the suit alleges Epic Games used this choreography without permission. An important note found in the complaint is that Ribeiro is currently in the process of registering…  

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Boogaard Opioid Death Lawsuit

On December 3, 2018, the United States Supreme Court refused review of the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the parents of ex-NHL player Derek Boogaard. The lawsuit, had alleged Boogaard suffered a fatal overdose as a direct result of the NHL encouraging violence and concealing information regarding the dangers of head trauma. By way of refresher, Derek Boogaard was known as an “enforcer” on the ice over his six years in the league, fighting 66 times over his 277 regular season career. After passing as…  

Let’s Go Live: NBA Announces Partnership to Distribute Real-Time Odds

On November 28, 2018, the NBA announced that sports data providers Genius Sports and Sportradar will have nonexclusive rights to distribute real-time, official data to licensed sportsbooks in the U.S. This is inclusive of both NBA and WNBA games, including preseason, regular season, and postseason play. This partnership comes on the heels of “live betting” beginning to take off; indeed, at a recent gaming conference in New York, a FanDuel executive noted that in-game betting amounts to approximately 40% of the amount wagered at its…  

Major Sports Leagues Cover the Spread, Win Sports Betting Spinoff Lawsuit

On November 16, 2018, Judge Shipp found in favor of the major sports leagues in a claim for damages under an injunction bond. Previously, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA) had sought $3.4 million, plus interest and damages, from the NFL, NCAA, NBA, NHL, and MLB.  NJTHA claimed that, as a result of Judge Shipp’s 2014 injunction halting NJTHA and Monmouth Park from accepting sports bets, NJTHA suffered damages in excess of $10 million.  In response, lawyers for the leagues described the claim…  

Picture Imperfect: Polaris Brings Suit Against Fox Affiliate Over Photo Usage of Aaron Hernandez’s Fiancée

On November 14, 2018, Polaris Images Corp. filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Fox affiliate Tribune Broadcasting Co. Per the complaint, a Tribune-owned website published a story regarding the late NFL player Aaron Hernandez’s pregnant former fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, and used a photograph of Jenkins therein. According to the article, entitled “Aaron Hernandez’s fiancée Shayanna Jenkins announces pregnancy,” the caption beneath the photograph in question credits “Shayanna Jenkins Instagram.”  However, Polaris claims “Tribute did not license the photograph from plaintiff for its article,…  

Two Former Adidas Officials and a Business Manager Found Guilty in High-Profile “Pay-for-Play” NCAA Scandal

On October 24, 2018, a Manhattan federal jury convicted three men of fraud charges arising out of a high-profile college basketball pay-for-play scandal. Per the trial that opened on October 2, 2018, former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager and aspiring sports agent Christopher Dawkins, and former Adidas consultant Merl Code had previously admitted their conduct ran afoul of NCAA rules, but denied breaking any law and staunchly advocated that they were acting with school’s knowledge and consent. Prosecutors had argued that these secret payments…  

Nothing But Net: Pittsburgh Pirates’ Net Installer’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied

On October 9, 2018, Judge Michael Della Vecchia denied Promats Athletics LLC’s motion for summary judgment seeking removal from a foul ball injury lawsuit. Back in 2015, spectator Wendy Camlin suffered injuries as a result of being struck in the head by a foul ball that deflected from the netting. Accordingly, when she filed suit against Major League Baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the city and county entity that built the stadium, the Pirates joined Promats to the suit, alleging Promats recommended and installed…  

Finding a Cure: Researchers in Midst of Developing Potential “Concussion Pills”

According to Dr. William Korinek, CEO of Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals, a so-called “concussion pill” is targeted for a 2025 release into the world. This pill would, in theory, allow for one’s brain to self-heal and repair long-term brain damage, such as damage sustained through football concussions. While Dr. Kun Ping Lu predicts a release date closer to 2027, the fact that it is on the way at all can provide a light on the horizon for those struggling to find any release from chronic traumatic encephalopathy…  

The Not-So Big Easy: Louisiana District Judge Limits AFL Player to Workers’ Compensation for Concussion Injuries

On May 10, 2017, Judge Fallon of the Eastern District of Louisiana held that Lorenzo Breland, a professional arena football player suffering from alleged concussions, was limited to pursing relief through a workers’ compensation claim. As such, the player was barred from pursuing his intentional tort claims against Arena Football One, LLC (the AFO), which owns both the Arena Football League One, LLC and Louisiana Arena Football, LLC. In originating this lawsuit, Breland asserted that he suffered multiple concussions while playing for the New Orleans…  

Power Play: Former NHL Players Shoot for Stay of Deadlines and Bellwethers in NHL Concussion Lawsuit

On May 5, 2017, former National Hockey League players currently engaged in the concussion lawsuit submitted a letter requesting a stay of all deadlines surrounding their bid for class certification. This letter was drafted per an instruction from U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, who ordered both parties to confer and simultaneously send letters outlining their positions. In the letter, the players indicate it would be impracticable to be expected to depose the NHL’s 19 experts, oppose five expert motions in limine, obtain rebuttal…  

There’s a Doctor in the House: Two Groups of Medical Experts Approved by District Judge in NFL Concussion Settlement

On May 4, 2017, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody approved two groups of medical experts in the NFL concussion settlement. These experts will lead the testing and diagnosing of players in the class to determine whether each member has a neurological condition which will qualify them for recovery under the terms of the settlement. A list comprised of these experts was submitted last month. Per the Approval signed by Judge Brody, the two panels of experts for this Settlement Program are the Appeals Advisory Panel…