The City of Oakland Sues the NFL

On December 11, 2018, the city of Oakland, California, sued the NFL and all thirty-two NFL teams, over the decision to relocate the Raiders to Las Vegas. In March 2017, the Oakland Raiders announced  that they planned to relocate to Las Vegas by 2020. According to the complaint, Oakland went to extraordinary efforts to keep the Raiders from leaving, but the ultimate decision was purely monetary: Las Vegas offered $750 million, ostensibly for a new stadium. Allegedly, as a part of the deal to…
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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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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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Judge Denies Reviving Patriots’ “Deflategate” Suit

The Massachusetts Appeals Court denied to revive the so-called “Deflategate” suit brought by a proposed class of New England Patriots fans, seeking damages and injunctive relief against the National Football League, Commissioner Roger Goodell, and Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft. The suit stems from the highly controversial accusations against Tom Brady for his alleged role in the scheme to deflate footballs below the PSI range defined by league rules. Commissioner Goodell fined the Patriots $1 million, suspended Brady for four games, and took away…
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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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Arbitrator Denies Eric Reid’s Grievance Against Bengals

On October 23, 2018, it was announced that an arbitrator denied the National Football League Players Association’s (NFLPA) grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals. As we have previously reported, on July 11, 2018, the NFLPA filed a grievance against the NFL over its national anthem policy. The policy, announced in May 2018, instructed players to either stand during the anthem or to not come out of the locker room until the anthem is over. In response, the NFLPA filed several non-injury grievances “on behalf…
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Junior Seau’s Family and the NFL Settle Wrongful Death Suit

On October 5, 2018, Junior Seau’s family settled their lawsuit with the NFL; however, the particulars of the settlement are confidential. As we have previously reported, Seau, who played for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots, took his one life, at the age of 43, in 2012. An autopsy report showed that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a condition caused by repeated brain trauma. In 2013, Seau’s family filed a wrongful death and joined a class of…
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NFL Sued by Former Athletes over Pro Bowl Promotionals

World Sports Alumni Inc. (WSA), a sports marketing firm, is suing the NFL and a chapter of the National Football League Alumni Association (NFLAA) over the use of former athletes’ names and pictures in promotional advertisements without their permission. WSA alleges that the NFL and NFLAA depicted retired NBA player Nick Anderson, retired NFL player Brandon Meriweather, and retired heavyweight boxing champion Riddick Bowe to promote the Pro Bowl events without the former athletes’ knowledge or consent. The complaint states that, in December 2017, NFLAA…
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NFL Painkiller Class Action Resurrected by 9th Circuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a class action filed by former NFL players, sending the case back to federal court. The suit claims the NFL encouraged players to abuse painkillers, including opioids. In 2014, the lower court sided with the NFL, holding that the claims were preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL team owners and athletes. Now, however, the 9th Circuit has…
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Retired Chicago Bears Player Sues NFL Over Risk of Brain Injuries

Former Bears player Craig Steltz has brought action against the National Football League, claiming that the organization deliberately abandoned its duty to players’ health in concealing the dangers of head injuries relating to the sport. Steltz claims that under the 2006 and 2011 collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the National Football League Players Association, the NFL assumed a duty to protect the health and safety of the players within the organization, which extended to providing information about the risks to long-term injury. The…
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