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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MLB Strikes Deal with Cuban Baseball Federation

On December 19, 2018, MLB and the MLB Players Union (MLB PA) announced that they reached an agreement with the Cuban Baseball Federation. The agreement will allow MLB teams to sign Cuban baseball players without requiring the players to “defect” from the Cuba. Further, the MLB also agreed to give the Cuban Baseball Federation a percentage of signing bonuses that Cuban players receive. The move comes amid slowly easing tensions between the United States and Cuba and was made with the hope of ending player…
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Trademark Showdown at Home Plate: Atlanta Braves at Bat against Local Taxi Company

On November 1, 2018, the Atlanta Braves commenced an action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against a local Marietta taxi company and its owner for trademark infringement. The complaint filed by the Atlanta Braves asserts Federal and State causes of action against Braves Taxi sounding in Trademark Infringement, Trademark Dilution, Unfair Competition, and Cyberpiracy. In short, the Atlanta Braves claim that Braves Taxi is using identical and confusingly similar marks to those of the MLB team on its vehicles.…
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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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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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