Widow of Notre Dame Football Player Hopeful for CTE Suit to Stand

As we have previously covered, the wife of former Notre Dame football player, Steven Schmitz, filed a lawsuit targeting Notre Dame and the NCAA in 2014 on behalf of her late husband. She is seeking to recover for the college and organization’s alleged “reckless disregard” for the safety of college football players, specifically during the time period that Schmitz spent playing for the team in the 1970s, which led to his diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in 2012, and his ultimate passing in…
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Update on Lamar Dawson’s Student-Athlete Wage Suit

On April 4, 2018, attorneys representing the NCAA wrote a letter to the Ninth Circuit notifying the court that the U.S. Supreme Court recently reversed a Ninth Circuit decision that the plaintiff, Lamar Dawson, cited in his opening brief. As we have previously reported, Dawson began a class-action lawsuit in September 2016, alleging the NCAA and Pac-12 violated California law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not paying student-athletes minimum wage or overtime. In April 2017, the NCAA’s motion to dismiss was…
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Scope of NCAA Corruption and Bribery Case Grows

On April 10, 2018, attorney Robert S. Khuzami added the University of Kansas and North Carolina State University to the list of NCAA basketball programs involved in the NCAA corruption and bribery case. As we have continued to cover, this case involves Adidas executive Jim Gatto, Adidas contractor Merl Code, and sports business manager Christian Dawkins. Each stand accused of facilitating six-figure payments to basketball players and their families in exchange for promises that the players would enroll at Adidas sponsored NCAA Division I…
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College Athlete Compensation Suit Moved to Trial

On March 28, 2018, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled the 2015 O’Bannon decision did not bar the recent NCAA antitrust lawsuit. As previously covered, a class of college athletes are attempting to obtain a judgement that would lift the cap on college athlete’s compensation. In their lawsuit, the college athletes argued that the NCAA violated federal antitrust law by conspiring to impose an artificial ceiling on the scholarships and benefits that college athletes may receive as payment for their athletic services, which arguably have…
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NCAA Fails to Appear for Trademark Trial, Files New Suit Entirely

On March 4, 2018, two owners of Southern California Ford dealerships filed for dismissal or staying of a trademark infringement suit initiated by the NCAA, while the parties await decision on the same issue from the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB). The NCAA initiated a suit in response to the dealerships’ uses of “Markdown Madness,” claiming the slogan could easily be confused with the NCAA’s “March Madness.” Dealership owners and defendants, Ken Grody Management, Inc. and Dixon Ford, Inc., had already been defending the…
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New England Patriots Defensive End Sues Over NCAA Injury Insurance Policy

On March 9, 2018, Deatrich Wise Jr., a defensive end for the New England Patriots, filed a lawsuit against The Professional Athlete’s Insurance Group, PLLC (PAIG), agent Matthew Allen, Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, and International Specialty Insurance, Inc. (ISI). In the lawsuit, Wise alleged that the defendants misrepresented and failed to tender insurance benefits to Wise under the NCAA “loss of value” insurance policy. Wise is a former NCAA football player. He was designated as an “exceptional student-athlete” prior to the start…
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Sensitive Information Capped in NCAA Corruption/Bribery Case

As we recently covered, the NCAA corruption and bribery case continues to unfold and expand. As the government widens the scope of its search, it has simultaneously been trying to keep its findings under wraps. Although U.S. District Judges Lewis A. Kaplan and Edgardo Ramos both denied the government’s recent request for a gag order, they did acknowledge the need to protect some of the sensitive information obtained as the case progresses. On March 6, 2018, the court issued a protective order, providing…
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Judge Scales Back Discovery in NCAA Wrongful Death Suit

On March 1, 2018, a Texas court of appeals filed a writ of mandamus, partially granting and partially denying the NCAA’s appeal of a prior discovery order. The suit was initiated by Debra Ploetz, wife of former University of Texas football player, Greg Ploetz, who played for the team from 1968 to 1972 and who died in 2015 from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The wrongful death suit alleges the late athlete’s CTE condition and subsequent death resulted directly from his years spent playing for…
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Legal Fees Sought After NCAA Trademark Suit Deemed “Exceptional Case”

As we have previously reported, the NCAA has recently triumphed over a year-long trademark suit when its motion requesting an entry of default was granted back in January 2018, and a default judgment rendered thereafter. The suit alleged that defendants Robert Alexander and Kizzang LLC had infringed, diluted, and unfairly competed with the NCAA by using and attempting to register the marks “April Madness” and “Final 3.” The marks were strikingly similar to the NCAA’s well-known trademarks of “March Madness” and the “Final…
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Judge Delays NCAA $75 Million Settlement for the Fifth Time

On March 8, 2018, U.S. District Judge John Lee delayed final approval of a $75 million settlement for the fifth time after he learned that thousands of current and former NCAA student-athletes have still yet to be notified of the settlement. Judge Lee originally approved the $75 million settlement in July 2016, but delays, largely attributed to difficulties notifying more than 4 million student-athletes, including acquiring contact information and physically notifying the student-athletes, have prevented final approval. The most recent difficulty, and the reason for…
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