Mr. T Sues Popular Marijuana Website

On August 22, 2019, Laurence Tureaud, most commonly known as Mr. T, sued Leafly, a digital cannabis company. In his lawsuit, Mr. T claimed that Leafly, the largest cannabis website in the world for people in legal cannabis markets, infringed on his trademark rights by abbreviating one of their product names, called Mr. Tusk, to “Mrt.” Mr. T became famous in the 1980s for his roles in the “The A-Team” and “Rocky III.” According to Mr. T, the abbreviation of Mr. Tusk to “Mrt”…
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Ninth Circuit Rejects Lamar Dawson’s Bid to Revive Lawsuit

On August 12, 2019, a panel of Ninth Circuit judges rejected Lamar Dawson’s bid to revive a proposed class action lawsuit, which claimed that the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference improperly denied student-athletes minimum wage and overtime. In their ruling, the panel noted that the Pac-12 and NCAA did not provide Dawson, a former University of Southern California linebacker, with a scholarship or have the power to hire or fire him and, thus, they were not his employer, nor was he their employee. According to Chief…
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Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets Have New Owner

On August 16, 2019, it was announced that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to sell the Barclays Center and his controlling stake in the Brooklyn Nets to Joe Tsai, co-founder and Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group. The deal was reportedly worth $3.5 billion. It was long anticipated that Tsai, one of the world’s 150 richest people, would purchase the Nets as he already owned 49 percent of the franchise. The change in ownership continues what has been an already transformational summer for the Nets. The…
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NFL Running Backs Could Break from Players’ Union

On August 9, 2019, a group called the International Brotherhood of Professional Running Backs (IBPRB) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking that NFL running backs be severed from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and formed into a new union. According to the IBPRB, NFL running backs “have unique career structures; and the current one-size fits all [approach to players contracts] is inappropriate.” The petition looms over the ongoing talks between the NFLPA and the NFL over a new collective bargaining…
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The Historical Significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin

On January 17, 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin. Historically, the court has often strayed from sports-related disputes, although there are some landmark cases which were exceptions and shaped the national landscape of sports. However, the dispute in Martin spanned greatly beyond a mere sports-related dispute. The issue was simple: does using a golf cart fundamentally alter a tournament? However, the larger legal question was whether the American Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) supersedes the rules of…
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NCAA $75 Million Settlement Gets Final Approval with $14 Million in Fees

On August 12, 2019, U.S. District Judge John Lee granted final approval to a $75 million settlement and awarded more than $14 million in attorney fees. As we have continued to report, the suit began in 2011 when former Eastern Illinois football player, Adrian Arrington, and three others, sued the NCAA because they suffered from seizures, which were a byproduct of repeated head trauma. Of the $75 million settlement initially approved by Judge Lee in July 2017, $70 million of the settlement will go…
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The “Greek Freak” Freaks over Trademark Infringement

Giannis Antetokounmpo, a member of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, recently filed a lawsuit against Viral Style LLC, a clothing company. According to Antetokounmpo, Viral used the trademarks “Greek Freak” and “Greek Fr34K” without Antetokounmpo’s permission. Antetokounmpo earned the nickname “Greek Freak” and later trademarked the name and an accompanying image related to his nationality, skill, and household notoriety. The nearly seven-foot-tall Bucks star claims Viral infringed on and counterfeited his trademarks by “designing, selling and distributing various products, including tees, hoodies and T-shirts, under the…
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Judge Recuses Himself from TCPA Lawsuit Against Tampa Bay Rays

After consulting with an ethics opinion, Florida U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli recused himself from a proposed class action lawsuit, which accuses the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending spam text messages. According to the order, Judge Porcelli stated that he “. . . find[s] it appropriate to recuse myself from these proceedings, as my impartiality might be reasonably questioned.” Specifically, Judge Porcelli admittedly communicated with several members of the Rays organization when he was…
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Legal Ramifications of Antonio Brown’s Helmet Saga

Antonio Brown was one of 32 players using helmets last season that are now banned by the NFL and the NFL Players’ Association. Those players, including New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, were able to use the helmets last season under a grace period but were required to make the change in 2019. Reports surfaced on August 9, 2019 that Brown, who was traded to the Oakland Raiders and then signed a three-year, $50.125 million contract with the team in the offseason, told team officials…
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Former NFL Defensive End Appeals to Third Circuit in Concussion Lawsuit

Amon Gordon, a 37-year-old former NFL defensive end, appealed to the Third Circuit in his legal battle against the NFL for not alerting its players of the long-term medical impact of concussions. Specifically, Gordon played eight seasons in the NFL and is fighting for his entitlement to a 2015 uncapped settlement of roughly 20,000 players to awards of up to $5 million, depending on the age and severity of their football-related injuries, according to Law360. There is a belief among the legal community that…
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