Judge Chooses Special Investigator in NFL Concussion Settlement

On December 10, 2018, U.S. District Judge Anita J. Brody, the judge overseeing the NFL concussion settlement, appointed former Chief U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel to serve as the special fraud investigator in the NFL Concussion Settlement. Under Judge Brody’s order, Judge Stengel will serve as a Special Investigator and will “look into possible fraudulent claims.” As we have previously reported, since April 2018, the NFL has asked Judge Brody to appoint a special investigator to examine potentially fraudulent concussion claims that…
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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…
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Lane Johnson Fights to Keep Lawsuit Alive

On November 19, 2018, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle, Lane Johnson, wrote two letters to Judge Sullivan regarding his lawsuit against the NFL and the NFL Players Association (“NFLPA”). As we have previously reported, in 2016, Johnson was hit with a 10-game drug suspension for his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. In response, Johnson filed a lawsuit against the NFLPA, arguing that the NFLPA’s inactions caused his suspension. Specifically, Johnson sued the NFL and the NFLPA for allegedly failing to follow the collective bargaining…
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Draftkings and Fanduel: “No Doubt” Right of Publicity Lawsuit Should be Dismissed

As we have previously reported, former NCAA football players, Akeem Daniels, Cameron Stingily, and Nicholas Stoner recently filed a lawsuit against Draftkings, Inc. and Fanduel, Inc. In their lawsuit, the former NCAA players allege that Draftkings and Fanduel violated an Indiana state right-of-publicity statute when they used the former players names, images, likenesses, and statistics in online fantasy sports contests. After the case was dismissed in United States District Court, it was appealed to the Seventh Circuit. A Seventh Circuit appellate panel certified the…
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Pirates Settle in Foul-Ball Suit, with Net Installer as Final Defendant

The Pittsburgh Pirates have reached a confidential settlement with a woman struck by a foul ball at the Pirates’ PNC Park. Now, a jury trial will go forth under a new state court judge to determine the liability of the installer behind the allegedly defective safety net behind home plate. As we have previously reported, the suit arises from an incident that occurred in April of 2015, when a foul ball hit the netting behind home plate, and the netting deflected or stretched far…
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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,…
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NCAA: Fans “Overwhelmingly Oppose” Paying Student-Athletes

On November 9, 2018, in their closing argument and brief, the NCAA defended its rules, restricting payments for student-athletes, arguing that NCAA fans value amateurism and “overwhelmingly oppose” paying student-athletes. The NCAA argued that the rules restricting student-athlete pay ensured that student-athletes were integrated into college campuses and, at the same time, promoting amateurism, which increases the demand for college sports. According to the NCAA, if the student-athletes were paid, fans would stop watching NCAA sports. As we have continued to cover, the…
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NHL Reaches Concussion Settlement with Class of Retired Players

On November 12, 2018, the NHL announced a tentative $18.9 million settlement with a class of over 300 retired NHL players. As we have previously reported, in June, 2018, former NHL players, Dan Carcillo and Nick Boynton, led a class of retired players suing the NHL claiming that they “suffered multiple serious head traumas during [their] NHL career that were not recognized, diagnosed or treated, and improperly diagnosed and treated.” Further, over the years, while the NHL has dealt with the problematic issue of…
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Baseball Net Installer Calls Foul, Alleging Judge’s Improper Communication

Promats Athletics LLC, the company that installed the safety net at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, filed a motion requesting a new state judge preside over the upcoming case of a women hit by a foul ball. The company contends that the judge currently assigned has conducted improper communications with the plaintiff’s attorney and is thus subject to removal from the case. The suit arises from an incident that occurred in April of 2015, when a foul ball hit the netting behind home plate, and the netting…
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Former Players Sue Football Helmet Manufacturer Riddell

On October 30, 2018, a putative class action lawsuit was filed by former high school and college football players. The players are suing BRG Sports, Inc., commonly known as Riddell, for its practice of “marketing, promoting, and distributing dangerous and defective football helmets.” The players argued that they sustained permanent brain and neurological injuries due to inadequate padding in the company’s helmets, which they were told would protect them. According to the complaint, Riddell is the world’s largest football helmet manufacturer. For decades, Riddell…
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