Players’ Unions v. Jock Taxes: An Inside Look at This Waging Legal Battle

Last week, we reported that the NHL Players’ Association, MLB Players’ Association, and NFL Players’ Association sued the city of Pittsburgh for charging a fee on nonresident professional athletes that play within the city. These fees, often referred to as jock taxes, have come under fire over the past few years.

The players’ associations are not challenging the legality of jock taxes in general. It is well established that states and municipalities have the right to tax income earned by athletes in their jurisdiction. …

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NFL, MLB, and NHL Players’ Associations Sue Pittsburgh Over “Unconstitutional” Athletes Fee

The city of Pittsburgh is being challenged for a fee it is charging  nonresident professional athletes who play for Pittsburgh teams.

The NHL Players’ Association, MLB Players’ Association, and NFL Players’ Association, along with baseball player Jeff Francoeur and hockey players Kyle Palmieri and Scott Wilson, have sued the city of Pittsburgh. The city currently imposes a three percent general revenue income fee on professional athletes who reside out of state. Athletes who live in the city, however, pay only a one percent fee. Pittsburgh …

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Women Drops Claims Against MLB in Foul Ball Suit

On August 24, 2018, Wendy Camlin, a woman suing MLB, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Sports and Exhibition Authority and Allegheny Country, agreed to drop all of her claims against MLB. Back in April 20, 2015 Camlin attended a baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburg Pirates, when a foul struck Camlin in the head. Camlin seat for the April 20, 2015 game was immediately behind home plate, in Row A, and there was a net …

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Cubs Fan Files Copyright Suit against the Team over Souvenir Design

On Friday, August 17th, a retired Michigan advertiser filed suit against the Chicago Cubs, alleging that the Cubs stole his design for 1984 souvenirs and reused the design for 2017 souvenirs without his permission or compensation.

Dan Fox was a Chicago advertising executive in 1984, when he contracted with the Cubs to create a souvenir for the team’s divisional championship: a clear acrylic block encasing an ivy leaf from Wrigley Field’s outfield wall. In the original license agreement, the Cubs’ acknowledged Fox as

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University of Richmond Student-Athletes Suspended for Wagering Reinstated

The University of Richmond announced that it will reinstate the five baseball players who were suspended this season for potential NCAA violations, as it now appears that the players wagered on sports games—not fantasy sports—as initially reported.

NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from engaging in any “sports wagering activities or provid[ing] information to individuals involved or associated with any types of sports wagering activities.”  This may include “internet sports wagering” and pay-to-play “fantasy leagues.”

Student-athletes found in violation of these rules are ineligible from playing time …

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Plaintiffs Strike Out in Suit Seeking to Extend MLB Stadium Safety Netting

Plaintiffs’ hopes of extending the foul ball safety net further down the first- and third-base lines at all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums were dashed recently when a California U.S. District Court dismissed the lawsuit for lack of standing. The plaintiffs’, Oakland Athletics fan Gail Payne and Los Angeles Dodgers fan Stephanie Smith, claim that the extension of the safety net was required to protect fans from injuries caused by foul balls and broken bats, but U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers found the …

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Sports Litigation Case Law Update March 2015 Part 2 of 2

As mentioned in part 1 of this months sports litigation case law update here we visit a hockey locker room in upstate New York, and go back to Texas for a youth baseball field.

High School Hockey Player Assumed the Risk of Being Stepped On By a Skate in the Locker Room

Litz v. Clinton Central Sch. Dist., 2015 WL 1270085 (4th Dept., March 20, 2015)

Plaintiff high school hockey player was walking barefoot in the locker room when his teammate, who still …

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Royals Foul Out in Court Over Flying Hotdogs

Is a flying hotdog an inherent risk of watching a baseball game? Missouri’s highest court said no.  The appeal before the court was a personal injury verdict in a jury trial.  The case was brought by Royals fan John Coomer who was hit by an airborne hotdog tossed by the team’s mascot “Sluggerrr.”  Coomer claimed that the flying hotdog caused a detached retina which required a surgery.  At trial, the jury found the team at no fault.

It was a crucial question that determines whether …

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City of San Jose resumes its fight against MLB’s Antitrust Exemption

Last fall U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte dismissed a lawsuit filed by the city of San Jose against Major League Baseball (MLB) in which the city claimed that MLB had wrongfully prevented San Jose from enticing the Oakland A’s to relocate to Silicon Valley. Judge Whyte had reasoned that MLB’s antitrust exemption – a status bestowed on the league in a 1922 Supreme Court decision – barred the suit and required that the action be dismissed.

On March 5, city attorneys filed a brief …

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