NFL Withdraws Controversial Appeal Just Before Hearing

On January 9, 2019, one day before a scheduled hearing, the NFL withdrew its appeal that previously outraged attorneys representing former NFL players in concussion class-action litigation. As we have previously reported, in April 2015, the NFL entered into a settlement agreement with almost 22,000 former players. The settlement established a 65-year uncapped monetary fund for players who could prove certain neurological diagnoses. The settlement provided a $75 million “baseline assessment program” that provided eligible retired players with neurological examinations, a $10 million education…
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Concussion Suit Brought by Former Chiefs Player’s Ex-Wife Dismissed

A suit brought by a former Chiefs player’s ex-wife has been dismissed in Pennsylvania federal court. U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody ruled that the plaintiff, Anita Martin,could not pursue her claims alleging that the concussions sustained by her former husband, Christopher Martin, hurt their relationship. Judge Brody explained that Ms. Martin failed to opt-out of an uncapped, multi-district settlement that the NFL had reached with roughly 5,000 players back in 2015. The settlement concluded allegations that the players sustained concussions and degenerative brain diseases…
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Michael Peluso Sues New Jersey Devils

On January 3, 2019, former New Jersey Devils’ enforcer, Michael Peluso, sued the New Jersey Devils and various team officials, claiming that the team concealed his risk of long-term neurological problems. According to Peluso, the Devils hid the full extent of a head injury that he suffered, on December 18, 1993, in a fight with Tony Twist, a member of the Quebec Nordiques. During the fight, Peluso allegedly suffered a concussion. According to the complaint, the Devils “intentionally, deliberately, fraudulently, and with callous disregard…
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Nirvana Says Stay Away, Demands All Apologies in Lawsuit Against Marc Jacobs

On December 28, 2018, Nirvana LLC brought suit against Marc Jacobs International, claiming copyright and trademark infringement. Nirvana LLC was formed back in 1997 by Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and the Cobain Estate controlled by Courtney Love. Per the complaint, Nirvana argues that the Jacobs fashion brand has taken advantage of its image in misleading customers to believe Nirvana has endorsed or is otherwise associated with Jacobs’ “Bootleg Redux Grunge” collection. In particular, Jacobs has allegedly re-purposed the infamous “Smiley Face” logo created by Kurt…
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NFL Reaches Limited Sponsor Deal with Caesars Entertainment

On January 3, 2019, the National Football League announced its inaugural league-wide sponsorship deal with a casino company, Caesars Entertainment. While the financial terms have not yet been disclosed by Caesars or the NFL, it has been reported that the partnership will run for three years, costing $30 million per year. Previously, seven NFL clubs – the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, and the Philadelphia Eagles – maintained relationships with Caesars. This new deal also comes prior…
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Former NFL Players Face Uphill Battle in Painkillers Appeal

On December 19, 2018, a lawyer representing six former NFL players had difficulties persuading a panel of Ninth Circuit judges to revive a lawsuit claiming that the NFL illegally dispensed painkillers and pushed athletes to return to the field, ending their careers early. The lead plaintiff, Etopia Evans, widow of the late Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens player Charles “Chuck” Evans, filed her federal class action lawsuit back in May 2015. Back in 2008, Chuck Evans died a jail cell, two days after being imprisoned…
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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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Sports and Entertainment Law Insider Named Best Niche and Specialty Blog of 2018!

We are pleased to announce that the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog has been named the best niche and specialty blog in the country and earned 1st place overall in The Expert Institute’s Best Legal Blog Contest for 2018! The Expert Institute — a leading legal service provider for identifying, verifying, and retaining expert witnesses — holds this annual contest to vet and recognize the best legal blogs out of the thousands that are on the web. In the 2018 Best Legal Blogs Contest…
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Update: Tempers Flare at Closing Arguments in the Student Athlete’s Wage Suit

During closing arguments in the NCAA student-athlete wage suit, on December 18, 2018, Beth Wilkinson, attorney representing the NCAA, told U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken that she was mistaken about some underlying facts of the case. At the start of closing arguments, Judge Wilken said that it “seems very clear” that the NCAA violated antitrust laws, but she questioned how the violation could be quantified. However, Wilkinson was quick to respond, saying “[w]e have not ever conceded that there was an antitrust violation.” Judge Wilken…
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Packers Fan Cannot Force Bears to let him wear Green Bay Gear, For Now

On December 13, 2018, Russell Beckman, a longtime Green Bay Packers fan and a Chicago Bears season ticket holder, asked U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall to enjoin a Chicago Bears, and Soldier Field, policy prohibiting participants in a pregame Bears Season Ticket Holder Experience from wearing non-Bears apparel on the sidelines. Beckman continues to claim that the Bears-gear-only policy violates Beckman’s right to free speech. As we have previously covered, Beckman, representing himself, sued the NFL and the Chicago Bears after he was not…
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