No Goal: Massachusetts Panel Rules that Hockey Player Can’t Sue Fellow Player or Officials over Injury

The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled in a split decision that a high school-age hockey player cannot sue a fellow player or other officials for a serious injury he suffered as a result of an illegal hit. In July 2013, hockey player Daniel Borella was injured by opposing player Julion Scott Lever near the end of a game between the New England Renegades and Team Kanaly. After being checked by Lever, Borella briefly lost consciousness and had his hand slashed by Lever’s skate. Borella permanently lost…
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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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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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Second Circuit Refuses to Second-Guess College Hockey Coach

James “Jak” Knelman played hockey for Middlebury College until he was kicked off the team by head coach Bill Beaney for leaving a team banquet early. Whether the coach’s decision was right or wrong, the player has no right to sue the coach and college, according to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a decision issued on June 23 (Knelman v. Middlebury College, 13-2614-cv, 2014 US App LEXIS 11721 [2d Cir. June 23, 2014]). Knelman joined the Middlebury…
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NHL in Fight with Insurer over Concussion Lawsuits

The National Hockey League is currently being sued in two separate lawsuits by former players who allege that the league concealed the long-term effects of concussions and failed to adequately warn them of the same.  On April 17, the NHL was sued again – this time by one of its insurers (TIG Insurance Co., a New Hampshire-based unit of Fairfax Financial Holdings, Ltd.), a company that hopes to limit or avoid its duty to defend the league in the existing cases and the new suits…
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NHL Faces Off with a New Concussion Suit

This week the NHL was hit with another concussion-based lawsuit brought against it by nine former hockey players.  The 109-page court filing accuses the league of negligence for failing to properly warn and protect players from the risks involved with repeated head trauma.  In pertinent part the complaint reads, “[D]espite the fact that the NHL’s violent game design induces head trauma, including concussions, the NHL has failed and continues to fail to warn its players of the risks to their lives and the devastating and…
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Concussion Controversy: Is the NHL Next?

As previously reported by the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider, the NFL’s recent settlement of the concussion class action brought by former pro players, the pending suits by former college football players against the NCAA and helmet manufacturer Riddell, and the wrongful death action by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died after repeated head injuries suffered on the field, among others, all beg the question: When — not if — will hockey see a rash of concussion-related litigation? Both the…
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