O’Bannon Lawsuit Could Change the Face of NCAA Athletics

Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon began his antitrust legal dispute against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) back in 2009, when he sued the NCAA for wrongfully profiting off the likenesses of former student athletes in EA Sports video games.  The suit accuses the NCAA of forcing students to waive the right to make money off of their likenesses, a behavior which amounts to an illegal restraint of trade. In a new twist, in her January ruling, federal Judge Claudia Wilken permitted O’Bannon to…
Continue reading...

Penn State Taking Notable Steps to Implement Systemic Changes After Sandusky Scandal

Penn State is apparently making steady progress in incorporating the requirements mandated by the NCAA on the heels of the embarrassing Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.  Last month, former Senator George Mitchell (the third-party Athletics Integrity Monitor) stated that Penn State is implementing various campus-wide changes to address deficiencies which had rendered the University and its administrators partly culpable for Sandusky’s criminal actions. Mr. Mitchell recently detailed in a second quarterly report to the NCAA and Penn State (as required to be issued pursuant…
Continue reading...

Stevie Wonder’s Alleged Blackmailer Claims the Higher Ground in Suit Against TMZ for Eavesdropping on Trial

Alpha Walker was on trial for allegedly extorting Stevie Wonder (by threatening to release a potentially embarrassing video tape).  In a strange turn of events, Walker is now suing TMZ for planting hidden microphones on the judge’s bench and recording privileged conversations during the extortion trial. TMZ had been admitted to the courtroom to film the “on the record” portions of the proceedings.  Apparently, Judge Ray G. Jurado discovered that microphones had been planted on his bench and at the tables for both the prosecution…
Continue reading...

Heat is Off the Spurs for Resting Star Players as Class-Action Suit is Dropped

On March 29, 2013, Attorney Larry McGuinness voluntarily withdrew a putative class action lawsuit against the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.  The suit had accused the team of wrongfully benching several star players (Tim Duncan, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker) in a November 29, 2012 game against the defending NBA champion Miami heat.  Plaintiffs argued that the move caused the plaintiffs (i.e. the ticket holders to the event) economic damage because they had paid premium prices to attend the proposed star-studded event but…
Continue reading...

On March 27, 2013, in a narrow 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded a Third Circuit decision upholding the class-action certification in a lawsuit accusing Comcast Corp. of unlawfully monopolizing the Philadelphia cable market. The Court’s decision to reverse the appellate court ruling hinged on the methodology the Third Circuit used in calculating damages – namely, that the decision to certify the class had impermissibly ignored expert testimony and wrongfully added damage amounts related to claims that had been dismissed.  Justice Scalia…
Continue reading...

NFL Star Considering Malpractice Suit

A recent contract negotiation blunder may result in a hefty malpractice claim by a professional football player against his agent.  The former agent for NFL defensive end, Elvis Dumervil, is in hot water over his handling of Dumervil’s contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos.  Due to his agent’s failure to timely transmit an executed contract to the team worth $8 million per year, Dumervil is unemployed and considering a suit. NFL teams must decide whether to release or retain players by a league…
Continue reading...

Were the NFL & Riddell Out of Bounds for Rejecting Competitor’s Potentially Concussion Reducing Helmet?

Industrial designer Phil Straus began thinking of ways to lessen the impact of football head injuries and concussions in the late 1980s.  After several years of work Straus developed a prototype of the “ProCap” in 1989 by attaching a half-inch-thick urethane mold on top of traditional football helmets.  His work showed signs of promise in lab tests, and later gained acceptance by a number of NFL players who swore that the invention functioned as advertised.  Mark Kelso, former Buffalo Bills free safety, swore by the…
Continue reading...

Athletes Awarded Millions from California’s Workers Compensation System

All states allow athletes to be awarded workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained during their playing days.  However, California has emerged as a favorite jurisdiction for two reasons.  First, California is one of the few states that allow athletes to claim injuries for the cumulative effect of injuries over time, or what some jurisdictions would call either an “occupational disease” or “cumulative injury.”  Second, California has extremely lax personal jurisdiction requirements. Ordinarily, a claimant in a workers’ compensation claim would need to establish residency or…
Continue reading...

NFL Goes 0 for 2 Against Insurance Companies in Court

The National Football League is now 0-2. It lost yet another round on the legal gridiron last week when New York State Supreme Court Judge, Jeffrey K. Oing, ruled that the lawsuit between the NFL and its insurance companies could proceed in NY.  This is despite the fact that the NFL filed a similar lawsuit in California first. This echoes a previous ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Shepard Wiley Jr. who held last fall that California was the wrong venue to deal…
Continue reading...

NY AG Says NFL Can’t Fish for Information about Player’s Sexual Orientation at Combine

On March 14, 2013, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent a warning letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after rumors emerged that the league was asking players about their sexual preferences when they reported to the scouting combine – employer behavior which is illegal in many jurisdictions.   The questions at issue were directed to three incoming college players who were allegedly asked whether they had girlfriends, whether they were married, or whether or not they “liked girls.” New York prohibits prospective employers from discriminating…
Continue reading...