Ryan Hart Did Not Consent to $40 Million EA Settlement
Ryan Hart, a former Rutgers quarterback, told the New Jersey federal court that he was “completely uninformed” about negotiations and a settlement impacting his case against Electronic Arts (EA). In his October 21, 2013 filing, Hart did not object to the settlement, but he opposed an action to replace him as the named plaintiff.
The $40 million settlement, announced last month, will remove EA and the Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) from Hart’s case and two others if approved. Hart’s case was filed almost four years ago alleging that EA used the college athletes’ likenesses in video games without permission. Other similar cases have also brought in the NCAA and CLC to the claims. Approval of the settlement would end Hart’s case and only claims against the NCAA would remain.
Hart’s lawyer says Hart was uniformed about the negotiations, and “[t]herefore, no informed consent was given by any plaintiff to reach a settlement.” The filing stated “it must be clarified that Hart, both individually and as the proposed class representative in this action, takes no position with respect to the proposed settlement, until such time as he is able to review the factual material.” The filings also indicated that Hart hoped to have a role in settlement discussions. Missing the negotiations “precluded [him] from all meaningful involvement in strategic decisions and settlement discussions.”
According to Hart, his previous attorneys advised him that his “attendance was not required… despite [his] willingness and availability to attend.” After the settlement was reached, those same attorneys asked the court to replace Hart with three other former football players as the named plaintiff.
Now, through his new attorney, Hart asked the court to remove the old lawyers that remain in the case.
While Hart has not objected to the settlement, this new twist disturbs the proposed deal that could end some of these longstanding disputes.