Phillie Phanatic Creators Fire Back with New Filing

Wade Harrison and Bonnie Erickson, credited with designing the Philadelphia Phillies’ mascot, the Phanatic, have filed a reply to a lawsuit alleging that the creators were threatening the baseball club with pulling the team’s rights to use the mascot. The creators have described the lawsuit by the Phillies as a “weapon.” At issue is whether the creators of the Phanatic can use the Copyright Act’s termination right – a rule made to allow authors to regain control over works they created, but signed away. The…
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The Death of Tyler Skaggs and Potential Liability of the Los Angeles Angels

On July 1, 2019, Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, was found dead in a hotel room in Texas several hours before his team was scheduled to play the Texas Rangers. The police in Southlake, Texas, said they found Skaggs, 27, dead in a room at the team hotel after responding to a call about an unconscious male. After an autopsy was performed, it was discovered that Skaggs died by choking on vomit after using drugs and alcohol, according to the Tarrant County, Texas…
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Cubs ADA Lawsuit Narrowed but Can Continue, Judge Rules

A lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs for failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be allowed to continue, a federal judge ruled.  In December 2017, David Cerda filed a lawsuit alleging that the Cubs violated the ADA by failing to provide enough seating for wheelchair users at Wrigley Field. Cerda, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and needs a wheelchair for mobility, claimed that the ADA requires the Cubs to offer 217 accessible seats and that the Cubs only offered 42…
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Judge Recuses Himself from TCPA Lawsuit Against Tampa Bay Rays

After consulting with an ethics opinion, Florida U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli recused himself from a proposed class action lawsuit, which accuses the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending spam text messages. According to the order, Judge Porcelli stated that he “. . . find[s] it appropriate to recuse myself from these proceedings, as my impartiality might be reasonably questioned.” Specifically, Judge Porcelli admittedly communicated with several members of the Rays organization when he was…
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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…
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ADA Lawsuits Regarding Sightlines Could Lead to Expensive MLB Stadium Renovations

Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations and their stadiums are facing expensive potential renovations to adhere to The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)  guidelines following numerous lawsuits. This includes a lawsuit filed on behalf of four disabled Seattle Mariners fans in 2018 along with separate lawsuits against the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs. The ADA requires qualified employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations. The lawsuits allege that some MLB stadiums fail to comply…
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Widow of Victim Locked in Cooler at Sun Trust Park Sues Atlanta Braves

Angela Keeling, the widow of Marvin “Todd” Keeling, has sued the Atlanta Braves, as well as more than a dozen other companies that provide services at SunTrust Park, for his death after being locked inside a stadium cooler. The complaint states that the Braves knew the cooler door release mechanism was “faulty . . . improperly constructed, assembled, maintained, and allowed to exist despite notice . . .” but never fixed it. On June 26, 2018, Keeling was an “invitee servicing and finalizing the installation…
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Plaintiffs File Lawsuit Against Seattle Mariners and Ballpark for Allegedly Providing Inadequate Accommodations for Those With Disabilities

A nonprofit disabilities-rights law firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of four disabled Seattle Mariners fans in October 2018 against the Mariners and the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District, which owns the team’s ballpark, T-Mobile Park. The four plaintiffs claim that the ballpark violated state and federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 (ADA). These plaintiffs are Washington residents who claim they encountered issues with seating, food service, or access to certain parts of the stadium and endured…
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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…
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Astros Fan Sues after Injured by T-shirt Cannon

On April 8, 2019, Jennifer Harughty, a lifelong Houston Astros fan, filed a lawsuit against the Astros for an incident that occurred July 8, 2018. On July 8, 2018, Harughty was seated in the stands behind third base with her family, enjoying a game between the Astros and the White Sox. Suddenly, during a break in play, the Astros’ mascot, Orbit, emerged onto the field with high-powered t-shirt cannon. Orbit then began launching t-shirts, at high speeds, into the stands behind third base. At one…
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