Again Ninth Circuit Unlikely to Revive Lamar Dawson’s Lawsuit

On October 15, 2018, attorneys representing Lamar Dawson, a linebacker who played for the University of Southern California between 2011 and 2015, attempted to revive a proposed class action lawsuit against the NCAA and the Pac-12 Conference. According to Dawson’s attorneys, the NCAA and the Pac-12 Conference should be considered employers of college football players, because they set limits on pay and work hours, within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Dawson’s attorneys are seeking to reverse U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg’s …

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Take Two: NCAA Moves to Dismiss Student Athlete’s Wage Suit

On October 8, 2018, the NCAA moved to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit led by Lawrence “Poppy” Livers, a former Villanova University football player. As we have previously reported, Livers sued to the NCAA claiming that the NCAA, Villanova, and other universities were violating the minimum wage provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Livers likened college athletes to paid student employees and claimed they should be compensated as such. However, Livers needed to show that the NCAA and the universities “willfully” …

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Junior Seau’s Family and the NFL Settle Wrongful Death Suit

On October 5, 2018, Junior Seau’s family settled their lawsuit with the NFL; however, the particulars of the settlement are confidential. As we have previously reported, Seau, who played for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots, took his one life, at the age of 43, in 2012. An autopsy report showed that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a condition caused by repeated brain trauma. In 2013, Seau’s family filed a wrongful death and joined a class of …

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NCAA Likely to Face Another Round of Concussion Claims

On September 28, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge John Lee allowed two former Purdue University football players to proceed with most of their putative claims that the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference hid risks of repetitive brain trauma. The former football players, Michael Rose and Timothy Statton, are hoping to lead a class of former student-athletes who sustained head trauma while playing football for Purdue from 1952 to 2010.

Their case stems from the “NCAA $75 Million Settlement.” As we have previously reported, …

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UW Chancellor and AAC Commissioner Each Testify at NCAA Antitrust Trial

On September 17, 2018, University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) Chancellor, Rebecca Blank, and American Athletic Conference (AAC) Commissioner, Michael Aresco, each testified in the NCAA Antitrust trial. As we have previously reported, in this lawsuit a class of college athletes are attempting to challenge the existing NCAA amateurism rules and attempting to create an open market for various NCAA schools to compete for top college recruits.

Pursuant to Chancellor Blank’s testimony, UW is considering dropping its athletic program in the event that the court forces …

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WWE Cleared from All Concussion-Related Lawsuits amid Plaintiff Attorney Sanctions

World Wrestling Entertainment has earned a key legal victory, with the Connecticut District Court ruling to dismiss all concussion-related claims against the entertainment giant.

Over the past several years, more than 65 of retired wrestlers have filed against WWE, alleging a lack of protection for the wrestlers’ health that lead to concussions, CTE, and other brain injuries. The former wrestlers further contended that WWE forced them into dangerous performances and covered up the effects of head trauma.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant …

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NFL Painkiller Class Action Resurrected by 9th Circuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a class action filed by former NFL players, sending the case back to federal court. The suit claims the NFL encouraged players to abuse painkillers, including opioids.

In 2014, the lower court sided with the NFL, holding that the claims were preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL team owners and athletes. Now, however, the 9th Circuit has …

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Notices in the NCAA $75 Million Settlement Finally Complete

On September 12, 2018, attorneys representing the NCAA notified U.S. District Judge John Lee that the direct notice portion in the $75 million dollar NCAA Concussion Litigation case had ended. As we have continued to report, Judge Lee has delayed the final approval of a $75 million settlement several times after he learned that thousands of current and former NCAA student-athletes were yet to be notified of the settlement. Judge Lee originally approved the $75 million settlement in July 2016, but delays, largely attributed …

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Retired Chicago Bears Player Sues NFL Over Risk of Brain Injuries

Former Bears player Craig Steltz has brought action against the National Football League, claiming that the organization deliberately abandoned its duty to players’ health in concealing the dangers of head injuries relating to the sport.

Steltz claims that under the 2006 and 2011 collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the National Football League Players Association, the NFL assumed a duty to protect the health and safety of the players within the organization, which extended to providing information about the risks to long-term injury. The …

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In Pursuit of Class Certification against EA, Retired NFL Players Cite Bette Midler

The retired NFL players suing Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) are citing an unexpected figure in their continued efforts to gain class certification: singer Bette Midler.

The athletes’ action against EA began in 2010, over the company using their likeness in the video games, arguing that, while EA pays the NFL players union when featuring the names and likeness of current players, EA failed to compensate retired players in the same fashion. A federal judge recently ruled against the athletes, refusing to certify their case as …

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