Joseph M. Hanna

Joseph M. Hanna is the founder and chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Practice Group and editor of the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog. With a national practice and industry-wide reputation for leadership, Joe is consistently ranked among the top 10 attorneys based in Western New York in Business First’s annual Legal Elite, and in 2015, Joe was the youngest honoree ever to be named Lawyer of the Year in the Bar Association of Erie County’s 130-year history. He was named a Rising Star by Law360 in 2014 and is also a member of the Mediator Panel for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.

All articles by Joseph M. Hanna

 

Signs and Signals and Trashcans, Oh My! Astros Cheating Scheme Exposed

Sports scandals are not a foreign concept to fans, players, coaches, owners, and the like. For example, on March 2, 2012, the NFL announced it had evidence of the New Orleans Saints’ “bounty system that gave cash rewards for knocking [opposing players] out of games” during the 2009-2011 NFL seasons. Somewhat similar, MLB is experiencing something that, while less dangerous, is just as detrimental to the integrity of the sport. Baseball catchers use signs and signals to determine what type of pitch will be thrown…  

Going for the Green: Investors Seek Win in Second Circuit

In 2014, shareholders of the for-profit corporation Winged Foot Holding Company (WFHC) filed suit alleging the company had breached its fiduciary duty under New York Business Corporation Law Section 720 and unjustly enriched itself. This suit stems from the WFHC Directors’ 2013 extension of a 1947 lease agreement to use the golf club grounds. Under the lease agreement, the annual rental payment is $30,000. In their complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the shareholders alleged that WFHC’s…  

MLB’s Shane Bieber Faces Surprising Opposition to “Not Justin” Trademark

Cleveland Indians pitcher Shane Bieber is facing opposition to his attempt to register “Not Justin” as a trademark, though it’s not coming from pop star, Justin Bieber. In August 2019, Shane Bieber applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to register “Not Justin” as a trademark. He wore a special jersey with the phrase on it, humorously referencing his uncommon last name that he shares with the pop star. Shane Bieber plans to use the phrase in standard character on various types of…  

Federal Judge Rejects Amended Complaint in Ohio State Sexual Assault Case

A federal judge overseeing a sexual assault lawsuit against The Ohio State University (OSU) has denied the plaintiffs’ motion to amend the complaint for the time being, stating that the parties need to focus on mediation. Hundreds of former athletes and others have filed lawsuits against OSU, alleging that university doctor Richard Strauss, now deceased, sexually abused or assaulted them. In May 2019, law firm Perkins Coie LLP released an investigative report concluding that Strauss sexually abused at least 177 men during his tenure at…  

Second Circuit Throws Ex-NFL Player’s Marijuana De-Scheduling Lawsuit into Peril

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals told ex-NFL player Marvin Washington and other medical marijuana patients that it would not give them more time to ask the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to de-schedule marijuana. In 2017, Washington and a group of cannabis patients sued then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, seeking marijuana legalization at the federal level. While numerous states have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, it is still illegal under federal law, where it is classified as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin and LSD.…  

St. Louis Returns to Supreme Court, Argues That Rams Lawsuit Does Not Belong in Arbitration

The city of St. Louis and its stadium authority told the U.S. Supreme Court that it should not take an appeal filed by the Los Angeles Rams and their owner, Stan Kroenke. The city argues that the Rams’ relocation lawsuit belongs in court. In April 2017, the city and county of St. Louis joined the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority in a lawsuit against the Rams, Kroenke, and the NFL. The St. Louis entities claimed that the defendants failed to follow NFL…  

Hank Haney Sues PGA Tour, Claims They Forced SiriusXM to Cancel His Radio Show

Hank Haney, former SiriusXM radio host and coach for Tiger Woods, filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour, alleging that they put pressure on Sirius to cancel his radio show. Back in May, on the “Hank Haney Golf Radio” show on SiriusXM, Haney made comments about the U.S. Women’s Open that caused backlash. These comments were taken to be sexist and racist, and Haney both apologized on air and released a formal apology. Sirius initially responded by suspending Haney before cancelling his show altogether. Now,…  

NCAA President Says Student-Athlete Compensation Rule Changes Limited by Antitrust Lawsuits

NCAA President Mark Emmert stated in a panel that the NCAA’s planned reforms regarding student-athlete compensation will be limited by rulings in various antitrust cases. After California passed a law allowing for student-athlete compensation and many states looked to follow, the NCAA announced in a statement that it would allow student-athletes to benefit off their name, image, and likeness. The NCAA stressed that any changes would have to be consistent with the collegiate model. In addition to new laws and proposed legislation, the NCAA…  

NFL Agent Sues NFLPA for Harassment and Harm to Reputation

NFL player agent Vincent Porter is suing the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), claiming that they unfairly harassed him over dismissed criminal charges and ultimately ruined his professional reputation. In 2014, Porter was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The NFLPA suspended Porter after the charges were announced and publicized his suspension. Porter entered a deferred prosecution agreement and eventually had his charges dismissed with prejudice. Following the dismissal of charges, the suspension was reversed in 2016 after an arbitration between Porter and the NFLPA.…  

Ten NFL Players Charged By DOJ with Health Care Fraud

The Department of Justice has indicted 10 former NFL players, including Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis, on charges that they defrauded an NFL health care plan of over $3.4 million. The DOJ filed two indictments on December 6 in Kentucky federal court that were unsealed on December 12. In these indictments, federal prosecutors alleged that this group of former NFL players made fraudulent claims to the Gene Upshaw NFL Health Reimbursement Account Plan. The players allegedly filed reimbursement claims on medical equipment that they…  

City of Oakland Strikes Back Against NFL, Claiming It Forces Host Cities to Make a “Hobson’s Choice”

In a lawsuit over the Oakland Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas, the city of Oakland has argued that the NFL has forced it and other host cities to make a “Hobson’s choice”: either pay excessive prices to keep an NFL team, or lose the team altogether. As we reported in December 2018, the city of Oakland sued the NFL and all of its 32 teams over the decision to relocate the Raiders to Las Vegas, claiming that the league violated its own policies in addition…  

NCAA Game Rigging Scheme: From Working in Politics to Working with the Mafia

Benjamin Bifalco, a 25-year-old former political staffer for a New York State Assemblyperson, was arrested in October 2019 for his role in attempting to rig an NCAA basketball game. He is expected to plead guilty on the charges. Previously, we reported Bifalco was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. Section 224(a), which makes it unlawful to influence a sporting contest “in any way, by bribery. . . .” Per the indictment, Bifalco is alleged to have “knowingly and intentionally attempt[ed] to . . . influence by…  

It’s All About the Benjamins: Ex-Kansas Head Coach’s Breach of Contract Suit

David Beaty, former head coach of the Kansas University (KU) Jayhawks football team, has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the university. KU hired Beaty in December 2012, where he initially  received an annual salary of $800,000 on a five-year contract. Following the 2016 season, Beaty received a two-year extension with a $1.8 million annual salary. The contract stipulated a payout, worth approximately $3 million, if KU terminated Beaty without cause. Notably, the payout was not linked to Beaty’s salary. In 2018, KU hired…  

Russia Banned From 2020 and 2022 Olympics, 2022 World Cup for Doping Violations

Russia has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from participating in or hosting various sporting events, including the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup. As we reported earlier, the Russian track-and-field team was banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics by the International Association of Athletics Federations. This ban was a result of a systematic doping cover-up and the lack of compliance from the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). The Russian Olympic team was later banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics due to extensive doping…  

New Jersey State Assembly’s Not-So-Flowery Debate on Student-Athlete Pay

New Jersey is the latest state to advance a student-athlete pay-for-play bill. On November 14, 2019, New Jersey State Assemblywoman Lisa Swain and Assemblyman P. Christopher Tully introduced Assembly Bill 5863, or the New Jersey Fair Play Act. Previously, we reported a slate of states, including California, passed or introduced student-athlete compensation bills. Like many of those bills, the New Jersey bill will allow student-athletes to earn compensation using their name, image, or likeness. However, some New Jersey State Assembly members voiced their concerns with…  

An Unusual Coalition: Five U.S. Senators Spark Bipartisan Effort on Student-Athlete Compensation

A group of five United States senators announced that they will be discussing the drafting of federal legislation addressing the compensation of college athletes. The five senators are: Cory Booker, D-New Jersey; Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut; Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Marco Rubio, R-Florida; and David Perdue, R-Georgia. As we reported earlier, California became the first state to allow student-athletes to be compensated through endorsements or sponsorships. The NCAA was vehemently opposed to any efforts to mandate payment of college athletes and even threatened to ban California schools…  

Leave Us Out of It: NCAA Field Hockey Concussion Suit

On December 2, 2019, the NCAA filed a reply memorandum in support of its motion for summary judgment against former American University student-athlete, Jennifer Bradley. In April 2014, Bradley filed suit against the NCAA, American University, and other entities and individuals. Bradley alleged the defendants breached their duty of care after she suffered a head injury while competing in a NCAA field hockey match. During a September 2011 match, Bradley was hit in the head with a hockey stick. She soon began to experience signs…  

Parents Respond to Pop Warner’s Attempt to Exit CTE Suit

On December 2, 2019, Kimberly Archie and Jo Cornell (plaintiffs) filed their response in opposition to Pop Warner’s motion for summary judgment. Archie’s son, Paul, and Cornell’s son, Tyler, participated in Pop Warner Youth Football between the late 1990s and early 2000s. Both young men passed away in 2014. In an evaluation from Boston University, it was revealed that the young men suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). In 2016, the plaintiffs filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California,…  

Another One Bites the Dust, AFL Files Bankruptcy

The Arena Football League (AFL) has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a Delaware bankruptcy court. The AFL filed its bankruptcy petition a little over a month after suspending all local business operations for its remaining six teams. Since its inception in 1986, there have been as many as 19 AFL teams in a single season. However, the number of teams dramatically decreased following a Chapter 11 reorganization in 2009. That same year, the league rebranded to Arena Football One. This year, the AFL’s financial…  

No Goal: Massachusetts Panel Rules that Hockey Player Can’t Sue Fellow Player or Officials over Injury

The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled in a split decision that a high school-age hockey player cannot sue a fellow player or other officials for a serious injury he suffered as a result of an illegal hit. In July 2013, hockey player Daniel Borella was injured by opposing player Julion Scott Lever near the end of a game between the New England Renegades and Team Kanaly. After being checked by Lever, Borella briefly lost consciousness and had his hand slashed by Lever’s skate. Borella permanently lost…  

What a Knockout! Disgruntled Fans Suit Down for the Count

The May 2, 2015 match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, promoted as the “Fight of the Century,” saw two of this generation’s most prominent figures in boxing go head-to-head for 12 rounds. However, many fans were less than pleased with the outcome of the fight after the Pacquiao camp’s post-fight revelation. At the conclusion of the match, a “three-judge panel [unanimously] declared Mayweather the overall winner of the match,” the Ninth Circuit said. That same panel declared Pacquiao the “winner of between two…  

Rolling the Dice: Florida Sports Betting and Gambling

In Murray v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision paved the way for states to enact sports gambling schemes. SCOTUS held that, “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own.” In essence, SCOTUS found that a federal law banning sports betting and gambling is unconstitutional. Following this ruling, a flood of state legislatures moved to capitalize on the sports betting market. Recently, Florida State Sen.…  

NCAA Upholds Penalties Against Mizzou, Including Postseason Bans

An NCAA appeals committee upheld a series of penalties against the University of Missouri (Mizzou), including postseason bans, after a tutor was found to be completing coursework for several student-athletes. The NCAA Committee on Infractions initially penalized Mizzou in January 2019. The tutor was employed by the university from 2010 to 2016 and began to complete student coursework in the summer of 2015. The tutor interpreted a pay raise as school approval of her behavior. She completed assignments, quizzes, exams, and even an entire course…  

Pausing the Game: Take-Two Seeks to Pause WWE Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive has told an Illinois federal court that it wants to pause a tattoo artist’s copyright infringement lawsuit, as a ruling on a pending summary judgment motion could decide the case. As we reported last year, tattoo artist Catherine Alexander filed a lawsuit against Take-Two and World Wrestling Entertainment, alleging that they infringed on her copyright. Between 2003 and 2008, Alexander created several unique tattoos for WWE superstar Randy Orton. While WWE allegedly offered Alexander $450,000 for the rights to use…  

Los Angeles Dodgers try to Leave Ballgame by Transferring Jackie Robinson Contracts to Foundation

In a dispute over a pair of Jackie Robinson contracts, the Los Angeles Dodgers told a New York federal court that it transferred its purported interest in the contracts to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. As we reported  in October, the Dodgers entered a legal dispute over two of Jackie Robinson’s historic contracts. One is his 1947 contract with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers, in which he became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. The other is his 1945 contract with the Kansas City Monarchs,…  

Ex-NFL Player DeMeco Ryans Fights Arbitration in Lawsuit Versus Texans

Former Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans has asked the Texas Supreme Court to let his lawsuit against the Texans continue, instead of going to arbitration. As we reported earlier,  Ryans sued the Houston Texans back in 2016, alleging that they were responsible for an Achilles tendon injury he suffered in 2014. Specifically, Ryans claimed that the field of NRG Stadium was maintained in a poor condition, as the playing field consists of square patches of actual grass interwoven with seams of artificial…  

Players’ Unions v. Jock Taxes: An Inside Look at This Waging Legal Battle

Last week, we reported that the NHL Players’ Association, MLB Players’ Association, and NFL Players’ Association sued the city of Pittsburgh for charging a fee on nonresident professional athletes that play within the city. These fees, often referred to as jock taxes, have come under fire over the past few years. The players’ associations are not challenging the legality of jock taxes in general. It is well established that states and municipalities have the right to tax income earned by athletes in their jurisdiction.…  

Former Football Players Fight Back, Tell Ninth Circuit That NFL Was Directly Involved in Painkiller Lawsuit

In a lawsuit where former NFL players accused the league of doping them with amphetamines and painkillers, the players have responded to the NFL’s effort to end their appeal in the Ninth Circuit. As we reported earlier, former Chicago Bears players Richard Dent and Jim McMahon sued the NFL in 2014, claiming that the league facilitated the use of opioids, anesthetics, and drugs like Toradol without prescriptions, violating the Controlled Substances Act. While their lawsuit was initially dismissed by a district court for being preempted…  

One More Time: New Lawsuit Argues NCAA Must Pay Athletes Minimum Wage

Trey Johnson, a former defensive back for Villanova University, has sued the NCAA, arguing that the organization has violated federal labor law and that it must pay student-athletes a minimum wage. In his lawsuit, Johnson argues that student-athletes clearly constitute employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, he notes that college students in work-study programs are classified as employees, meaning that they are subject to minimum wage laws. Meanwhile, student-athletes, who work longer schedules and create the need for some of these work-study…  

NFL, MLB, and NHL Players’ Associations Sue Pittsburgh Over “Unconstitutional” Athletes Fee

The city of Pittsburgh is being challenged for a fee it is charging  nonresident professional athletes who play for Pittsburgh teams. The NHL Players’ Association, MLB Players’ Association, and NFL Players’ Association, along with baseball player Jeff Francoeur and hockey players Kyle Palmieri and Scott Wilson, have sued the city of Pittsburgh. The city currently imposes a three percent general revenue income fee on professional athletes who reside out of state. Athletes who live in the city, however, pay only a one percent fee. Pittsburgh…  

Game On: FaZe Clan’s $20 Million Lawsuit Against eSports Gamer Will Continue

A federal judge will allow a $20 million contract lawsuit filed by FaZe Clan Inc. against a popular eSports star to proceed. In May 2019, Fortnite player and social media celebrity, Turner Tenney, known to fans as “Tfue,” sued FaZe Clan, a popular eSports organization, in California state court. Tenney alleged that FaZe lured him and other gamers into “grossly oppressive, onerous and one-sided” contracts, allowing FaZe to make millions while Tenney earned a mere $60,000. He also filed a complaint with the California Labor…  

NCAA Student-Athlete Pay Rules, Opposition Grows

On October 30, 2019, the plaintiffs in the Alston v. NCAA case gained support in the form of an amicus curiae brief from the Open Markets Institute, Change to Win, the National Employment Law Project, economics professor Marshall Steinbaum, and law professors Sanjukta Paul and Veena Dubal. In the brief submitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the amici argue that the U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, Claudia Wilken, reached “an overly narrow” decision based upon…  

Inglewood Scores Big with Legal Victory in Clippers Arena Lawsuit

A California judge handed the city of Inglewood a win by ruling against a group of local residents who sought to block the city from selling public land for a $1.2 billion arena for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. The city of Inglewood accepted $1.5 million for an exclusive negotiation agreement with Murphy’s Bowl LLC, the developer of the proposed arena. The arena is located at a site near Los Angeles International Airport and the land was acquired by the city so that residents would…  

U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Ordered to Reveal Sponsorship Income

In March 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) filed suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the USSF violated the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for paying the women’s soccer team players less than the U.S. Men’s National Team. On October 28, 2019, the USSF filed a motion to compel disclosure. The USSF seeks documents from the…  

Youth Football Concussion Suit, Pop Warner Seeks to Exit

Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. submitted a motion for summary judgment to U.S. District Court Judge Phillip S. Gutierrez for the Central District of California on October 25, 2019. Pop Warner is a named defendant in a lawsuit alleging the organization knew of, and hid, the safety risks associated with youth football. The youth football organization is asserting the plaintiffs’ lack of evidence to show it was aware of the alleged health risks until years later. According to the complaint filed September 1, 2016, Paul…  

NCAA Plays Defense on All Fronts, College Athletes Seek Big Win in Ninth Circuit

On March 8, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, Claudia Wilken, ruled that the NCAA’s student-athlete compensation limits “unreasonably restrain trade in violation of . . . the Sherman Act.” A group of former and current student-athletes, including plaintiff Shawne Alston, applauded Wilken’s decision but is requesting that the Ninth Circuit invalidate caps on all forms of compensation. The NCAA appealed Wilken’s decision and is once again defending its student-athlete compensation rules before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the…  

NFL Tells Ninth Circuit to End Painkiller Class Action Lawsuit

The NFL argued to the Ninth Circuit that the lawsuit from former players should be dismissed, as it was individual teams, not the league, that supplied the players with amphetamines and painkillers. In 2014, former Chicago Bears players Richard Dent and Jim McMahon sued the NFL, claiming that teams frequently use opioids, anesthetics, and anti-inflammatory drugs like Toradol. They alleged that such drug use often does not require prescriptions and that the teams do not take into account medical history or potentially fatal interactions with…  

Adidas and Brooklyn Nets Settle Trademark Lawsuit Over Milkcrate Logo

Adidas and the Brooklyn Nets have agreed to settle a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Milkcrate Athletics Inc. over the use of its logo. On October 28, 2019, Milkcrate asked a New York federal court to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, noting that a settlement had been reached. No details of this settlement have been revealed. The lawsuit stemmed from an attempted collaboration between Adidas and Milkcrate. Between 2011 and 2017, Milkcrate owner Aaron “LaCrate” LaCanfora exchanged emails with Adidas seeking to collaborate on a…  

NCAA Offers Lifeline: College Athletes To Benefit From Name, Image, Likeness

The NCAA announced it is starting the process to allow student-athletes to benefit off their name, image, and likeness. The move comes after multiple states introduced legislation permitting student-athletes to earn this form of compensation. Previously, we reported California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act. The law will take effect January 1, 2023 and will allow student-athletes to enter into endorsement deals. Since Gov. Newsom signed the California bill, multiple states introduced legislation, including New York. The move…  

Ex-Wrestlers Argue WWE Hid Risks of Head Injuries in Concussion Lawsuit

In a Second Circuit lawsuit, a group of former professional wrestlers argued that the statute of limitations did not lapse in their lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), as they knew about and hid the risks of head injuries. As we reported earlier, 67 retired wrestlers sued WWE and its CEO, Vince McMahon, arguing that WWE failed to protect the health of its wrestlers. As a result, these retired wrestlers suffered concussions, CTE, and other brain injuries. The lawsuit was dismissed in September…  

Out of Time: Ex-NFL Players’ Suit Against Riddell Time Barred

In July 2016, a group of former NFL players filed a lawsuit against the sports equipment manufacturer, Riddell, Inc., in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. However, on October 21, 2019, Illinois’s First District Appellate Court ruled that the players’ suit is time barred by the “two-year statute of limitations governing personal injury actions in Illinois.” In their complaint, the players alleged Riddell “failed to warn” that their “plastic helmets could not protect” the players against concussions or long-term neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, the…  

Injunction Denied: D.C. Court Rules No-Bid Sports Betting Contract Okay

Washington, D.C. Superior Court Judge John Campbell issued an oral order on October 18, 2019, denying a preliminary injunction request to halt a contract between the D.C. Office of Lottery and Charitable Gaming and Intralot. The contract would permit Intralot, the district’s current lottery operator, to administer sports betting within the district. Under the Sports Wagering Procurement Practice Reform Exemption Act of 2019, the D.C. council was given the authority to award the contract to Intralot without holding a competitive bidding process. Previously, we reported 

MLB Umpire Joe West Sues Ex-Player Paul Lo Duca for Defamation Over Bribery Claims

Major League Baseball umpire Joe West has filed a lawsuit against ex-player Paul Lo Duca, alleging that Lo Duca defamed West by falsely accusing him of bribery. In one of his podcasts this past April, Lo Duca claimed that a teammate told him that West engaged in bribery. That teammate, Billy Wagner, allegedly told Lo Duca at a 2006 or 2007 New York Mets v. Philadelphia Phillies game that he lent West his 1957 Chevrolet in exchange for opening up the strike zone for him.…  

TCPA Lawsuit Against Tampa Bay Lightning Reaches Class Settlement

A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against the Tampa Bay Lightning, in which a fan claimed that the NHL team violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by flooding him with unwanted text messages. Plaintiff Brian Hanley claimed that the team violated the TCPA by using a bait-and-switch tactic. Hanley was under the impression that he had entered a ticket contest for a future Lightning game by texting a short code number. Instead, he had inadvertently signed up for an advertising…  

Dodgers Enter Legal Fight Over Valuable Jackie Robinson Contracts

The Los Angeles Dodgers will enter a legal dispute regarding the ownership of two of Jackie Robinson’s player contracts, which may be worth as much as $10 million. In 2013, Collector’s Café, run by Mykalai Kontilai, purchased two of Jackie Robinson’s MLB contracts for $2 million. One is Robinson’s historic 1947 contract with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers, in which he became the first African American to play in the MLB. The second is Robinson’s 1945 contract with the Kansas City Monarchs, the Dodgers’ minor league affiliate.…  

Browns Rushed to Identify Beer-Pouring Fan, Misidentified Fan Files Suit

The Tennessee Titans faced off against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio on September 8, 2019. As customary, a group of Browns fans sat in the area behind the home team’s goal post, dubbed the Dawg Pound. The Browns were trailing the Titans and, late in the fourth quarter, Baker Mayfield’s pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Titans cornerback, Malcolm Butler. Fellow Titan, Logan Ryan, decided to jump into the Dawg Pound while celebrating Butler’s pick six. While celebrating,…  

MLB Opposes Umpire’s Request to Withdraw Confidentiality Designations in Discrimination Lawsuit

Major League Baseball has asked a federal magistrate judge to reject umpire Angel Hernandez’s request to eliminate confidentiality designations in his racial discrimination lawsuit against the league. As we reported earlier, MLB umpire Angel Hernandez sued the league in July 2017, alleging that they discriminated against him based on his race. Hernandez has not worked the World Series since 2005 and, despite applying numerous times, was denied a promotion to crew chief. He alleged that these rejections were racially motivated and that chief baseball officer,…  

Federal Judge Dismisses Two Ex-NHL Players’ Concussion Lawsuits

A Minnesota federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the NHL by two former players, finding that the court lacks jurisdiction over the suit. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson dismissed two lawsuits, filed by Andre Deveaux and Todd Harvey, without prejudice. Judge Nelson reasoned that the players lacked a connection to Minnesota for jurisdiction. Deveaux and Harvey never played for a Minnesota hockey team, nor did they present enough evidence linking them to the state. As we previously reported, Judge Nelson oversaw a…  

Eagles Soar Away from Liability, Appeals Court Reverses $700K Judgment

On October 11, 2019, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed the trial court’s $700,000 award to Dallas Cowboys fan Patrick Pearson. Pearson, who was assaulted at Lincoln Financial Field, alleged that the Philadelphia Eagles were negligent in providing security during the December 14, 2014 matchup between the Eagles and Cowboys. The Superior Court ruled that the Eagles could not have foreseen or anticipated that a fight would occur in a bathroom at the stadium. At the time of the alleged fight admitted at trial, Pearson…  

WWE Counters Wrestlers’ Appeal in Concussion Lawsuit

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and its CEO, Vince McMahon, have fought back against 67 retired wrestlers who appealed the dismissal of their concussion lawsuit. Beginning in 2014, these former wrestlers filed lawsuits against WWE, arguing that the organization failed to protect their health, which resulted in concussions, CTE, and other brain injuries. In September 2018, the Connecticut District Court dismissed the lawsuit as many of the plaintiffs stopped wrestling before WWE was aware of the risks of head trauma. The attorney for the plaintiffs,…