Ex-NFL Player Tries to Take Marijuana De-Scheduling Lawsuit to U.S. Supreme Court

Ex-NFL player Marvin Washington and a group of medical marijuana patients told the Second Circuit that they will attempt to get their marijuana de-scheduling lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) into the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2017, the patients sued the DEA, arguing that marijuana was improperly classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. Schedule I drugs, which include heroin and LSD, are treated by the DEA as having a high potential for abuse and no clinical value. The patients alleged that the DEA’s …

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TCPA Lawsuit Against Tampa Bay Lightning Reaches Class Settlement

A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against the Tampa Bay Lightning, in which a fan claimed that the NHL team violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by flooding him with unwanted text messages.

Plaintiff Brian Hanley claimed that the team violated the TCPA by using a bait-and-switch tactic. Hanley was under the impression that he had entered a ticket contest for a future Lightning game by texting a short code number. Instead, he had inadvertently signed up for an advertising …

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Football Coach Suspended for On-Field Prayer Gets High-Profile Support While Awaiting Supreme Court Writ

On August 1st, Bobby Bowden, retired Florida State University football coach, submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court in support of Joseph Kennedy’s appeal to allow the high school coach to pray with his football players on the field immediately after games. Bowden argued that denying Kennedy the opportunity for on-field prayer is an infringement on religious freedom.

As we have previously reported, Bremerton School District suspended Kennedy in 2015 after Kennedy disobeyed the public school district’s ban on his …

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Do NFL Players Have a First Amendment Challenge to the National Anthem Policy?

Colin Kaepernick first gained attention for his protests of the national anthem during National Football League preseason games in August 2016. Following Kaepernick’s lead, many athletes across various sports began demonstrating during the pre-game rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.” The protests were met with widespread debate and incited responses from nearly every sports and media commentator. President Trump took to Twitter, posting a series of tweets sharing his strong feelings on the issue, calling for players who knelt to be “fired.” Kaepernick has …

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Ruling on Field Stands for High School Coach Suspended for Praying on 50-yard Line

On August 23, 2017, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction by Bremerton High School football coach Joseph Kennedy, who accused the school of violating his First Amendment rights by prohibiting him from praying on the 50-yard line immediately after football games. The prayers had started with just Kennedy on the field, but some players joined in over the years, and the prayers evolved into short motivational speeches. Although the praying took place after the games, students and parents were still …

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FanDuel Argues First Amendment Protects Use of NCAA Players’ Names and Likenesses

On Tuesday, June 26, 2016, FanDuel asked an Indiana federal court to dismiss it from a putative class action accusing daily fantasy sports operators of profiting off the unauthorized use of former NCAA athletes’ names and likenesses. It contended that its use of the names and likenesses was protected by the First Amendment.

FanDuel has had trouble with using the NCAA as a portion of its daily fantasy sports platform before, as back in March it had to reach a deal with the NCAA agreeing …

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Redskins to Benefit From Federal Circuit’s Ruling in TM Action

On December 22, 2015, the Federal Circuit came to a conclusion regarding the government’s ban on “disparaging” trademark registrations that will likely support the Washington Redskins in its attempt to recover cancelled trademarks. The Federal Circuit held, in a similar case, that it is unconstitutional for the government to prohibit trademark registrations that it deems to be “disparaging,” as such action violates the First Amendment.

Tuesday’s ruling occurred in a similar case, where Seattle-based rock band — The Slants — were refused a trademark …

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First Amendment Law Professors Back Redskins’ Argument on Appeal

On October 29, 2015, a notable group of First Amendment law professors filed an amicus brief with the Fourth Circuit, supporting the Redskins’ argument that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is in violation of the First Amendment.

The case, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse, is currently pending in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals where the Redskins have been fighting to reclaim their trademarks that were cancelled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) last year. The PTO’s revocation of the marks, which …

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Home Ice Advantage: Blackhawks Apparel Prohibited in Parts of Amalie Stadium

Rules directed towards away-team supporters in Tampa Bay Lightning’s Amalie Stadium have sparked controversy and raised First Amendment concerns for some. Fans in Amalie Stadium are prohibited from wearing away-team apparel in exclusive club seating areas. Those areas account for approximately 1,400 seats out of the arena’s 20,500 total. Also, in order to purchase tickets, fans must use a credit card associated with a Florida zip code.

Bill Wicket, executive vice president of communication for the Tampa Bay Lightning, commented on the restrictions: “[d]uring …

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Judge Blocks Jordan’s 3-Point Attempt in Right of Publicity Lawsuit

Jordan’s bid to win the right of publicity lawsuit without going to trial failed as a federal district court refused to rule that Jewel’s use of his likeness violated relevant state law as matter of law.

On March 12, District Judge Gary Feinerman denied Jordan’s motion for summary judgment, finding that there remained an unanswered legal question of “the extent to which the scope of the . . .  state laws . . . is coextensive with the Supreme Court’s constitutional commercial-speech doctrine.”

To establish …

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