Again WWE and Take-Two Interactive Move to Dismiss Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

On October 23, 2018, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (Take-Two) again moved to dismiss a suit brought by Catherine Alexander, a tattoo artist for professional WWE wrestler Randy Orton. According to the WWE and Take-Two, Alexander’s “amended complaint does nothing to remedy the grave deficiencies of her prior pleading.” As we have previously reported, in April, 2018, Alexander sued the WWE and Take-Two. Alexander claimed that several video games in the WWE 2K series illegally copied Alexander’s copyrighted tattoos…
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Plaintiffs Win Big: NY Court Classifies Fantasy Sports Betting as Gambling

NY State Court Judge Connolly ruled on Monday that fantasy sports contests are gambling, thus rendering the state law legalizing their operation unconstitutional. The decision is a major blow to industry leaders like DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Inc. However, the Justice noted that the decision fails to bind the lawmakers from excluding such contests from the penal law governing anti-gambling regulations. Plaintiffs brought the suit against Governor Cuomo and the NY State Gaming Commission opposing the law legalizing fantasy sports betting. The law originally legalized…
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NCAA to Commence New Committee to Monitor Sports Gambling

With the legalization of sports betting underway since May, 2018, the NCAA has announced its plan to establish a committee to oversee “the expansion of legalized sports wagering,” named the Board of Governors Ad Hoc Committee on Sports Wagering. In December of 2017, the longstanding federal restrictions barring the activity were struck down by Murphy v. NCAA, with the court determining that individual states could decide whether to legalize sports betting. The majority of states are expected to do so, allowing the respective state…
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NCAA Trial Winds to a Close amid High Tensions and High Stakes

On October 19, 2018, the NCAA athletes submitted their closing arguments, firing away against the NCAA’s bar against compensating student athletes. The critical antitrust trial has centered on collegiate sports wages, with the plaintiffs arguing against the NCAA is, “economically invalid” in its arguments based on amateurism. The NCAA has countered that paying student athletes would harm both the demand for college sports and the integration of student-athletes in college campus. The athletes reject these arguments, alleging in their 51 page redacted brief that…
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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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Two Former Adidas Officials and a Business Manager Found Guilty in High-Profile “Pay-for-Play” NCAA Scandal

On October 24, 2018, a Manhattan federal jury convicted three men of fraud charges arising out of a high-profile college basketball pay-for-play scandal. Per the trial that opened on October 2, 2018, former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager and aspiring sports agent Christopher Dawkins, and former Adidas consultant Merl Code had previously admitted their conduct ran afoul of NCAA rules, but denied breaking any law and staunchly advocated that they were acting with school’s knowledge and consent. Prosecutors had argued that these secret payments…
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Again Ninth Circuit Unlikely to Revive Lamar Dawson’s Lawsuit

On October 15, 2018, attorneys representing Lamar Dawson, a linebacker who played for the University of Southern California between 2011 and 2015, attempted to revive a proposed class action lawsuit against the NCAA and the Pac-12 Conference. According to Dawson’s attorneys, the NCAA and the Pac-12 Conference should be considered employers of college football players, because they set limits on pay and work hours, within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Dawson’s attorneys are seeking to reverse U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg’s…
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Take Two: NCAA Moves to Dismiss Student Athlete’s Wage Suit

On October 8, 2018, the NCAA moved to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit led by Lawrence “Poppy” Livers, a former Villanova University football player. As we have previously reported, Livers sued to the NCAA claiming that the NCAA, Villanova, and other universities were violating the minimum wage provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Livers likened college athletes to paid student employees and claimed they should be compensated as such. However, Livers needed to show that the NCAA and the universities “willfully”…
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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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NCAA Considering More Changes to Transfer Rules

On October 5, 2018, the NCAA Division I Council announced that it plans, in 2019, to vote on four changes to transfer proposals. As we previously reported, in June 2018, the NCAA and various conferences voted to change student-athletes transfer rules. Previously, student-athletes went through a “permission to contact” process. The process limited their ability to transfer as their current college coaches were able to block the athlete from transferring to certain schools. Now, starting in October 2018, the NCAA has shifted to a…
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