Notre Dame Football Player to Proceed with CTE Suit

The Supreme Court of Ohio has ruled that the estate of a former Notre Dame football player may proceed with their fraud and negligence claims, which allege that CTE is a “latent” disease and thus exempt from the typical statute of limitations. The decision is noteworthy because, while negligence claims must usually be filed two years from the injury, “latent” diseases have a modified timeline: the two year time bar begins at the time an individual learned of the injury, not when the injury…
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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…
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DOJ Investigating MLB’s Recruitment of Foreign Players

On October 2, 2018, Sports Illustrated published a report stating that the United States Department of Justice “has begun a sweeping probe into possible corruption tied to [MLB’s] recruitment of international players.” The report published numerous emails, documents, videotapes, photographs, confidential legal briefs, receipts, copies of player visas and passport documents, internal club emails, and private communications by franchise executives. Reportedly, MLB teams, like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves, have attempted to circumvent MLB rules and United States immigration law in their…
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NCAA Bribery Scandal UPDATE: Former Auburn Coach Moves to Dismiss Charges

On July 27, 2018, Chuck Connors Person, a former NBA player and former Auburn University assistant coach, asked the court, once again, to dismiss the government’s charges against him. According to Person’s memorandum, “the government filed a superseding indictment, which abandoned the original wire fraud conspiracy theory and presented an entirely different wire fraud charge against Person. However, the superseding indictment did not fix any of the problems of the original indictment and, according to Person, the government “failed to advance any persuasive arguments…
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Update: Judge Denies Special Investigator in NFL Concussion Settlement

Recently, a judge denied the NFL’s Request to hire a special investigator in the billion-dollar concussion settlement case. According to Judge Anita B. Brody, “[t]he NFL Parties have provided sufficient evidence of possible fraud to warrant serious concern … however, the Claims Administrator and Special Masters have demonstrated that they are capable of ferreting out any claims involving misrepresentations, omissions, or concealment of material fact, and ensuring that those claims are not paid.” As we have previously reported, counsel representing the NFL asked Judge…
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Vikings Owners Granted Massive Reduction in Damages in RICO Suit

On June 1, 2018, a three-judge appellate panel in New Jersey reviewed a 26-year old racketeering case against Minnesota Vikings owners, Zygmunt, Mark, Leonard Wilf, and other defendants, determining that a nearly $103 million award must be reconsidered. In its 90-page decision, the panel upheld Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claims, as well as some non-RICO claims, including fraud and breach of fiduciary duties. In doing so, however, it decided that the total award required reexamination because it improperly included RICO and non-RICO…
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NFL Seeks Special Investigator to Query Fraud in Billion Dollar Concussion Settlement

On April 13, 2018, the NFL filed a motion seeking the appointment of a special investigator to more closely examine potentially fraudulent concussion claims that may be “clogging the system” of the $1 billion settlement. Of the 2,000 plus claims submitted to date, about 46 percent indicate the presence of fraud, according to the motion. The NFL maintains that a new investigator will have the appropriate resources to uncover intentional fraud, which the current claims administrator does not have the capacity to do. Specifically, the…
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Move to Dismiss Expert in Negligence and Fraud Claims

On February 7, 2018, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by former player, Lazarius Pep Levingston. Levingston sued the team and its Director of Football Operations, Mike Greenburg, for negligence and fraud, alleging that the team concealed the extent of Levingston’s injures in order to give Levingston a smaller settlement. In August 2013, Levingston suffered a neck injury in a pre-season football game. The team informed Levingston that he had a “cervical strain/sprain, thoracic sprain/contusion, and shoulder contusion.” He…
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Amateur Weightlifter/Santa Barbara Police Officer Sentenced for Workers’ Comp Fraud

Jacob Finnerty was recently sentenced to 120 days in jail, five years of probation, and more than $115,000 in restitution based on charges of workers’ compensation fraud. Finnerty was a former offensive lineman in college and a competitive wrestler and weightlifter who subsequently became a Santa Barbara police officer. In 2013, he claimed a lower back injury arising out of his work duties when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Investigators, however, subsequently discovered that Finnerty was continuing to participate in wrestling and…
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Semi-Pro Football Player Pleads Guilty to Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Jason Fitch, a semi-professional football player for the Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters, recently pleaded guilty to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud. Fitch, a lineman for the Bounty Hunters, alleged that he had injured his knee while kicking a heavy bag during training with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office in May 2014.  However, on further investigation of the claim and after none of the witnesses at the Sheriff’s office could corroborate Fitch’s story, the Attorney General’s office discovered that Fitch had given inconsistent histories of…
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