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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MLB Umpire Joe West Sues Ex-Player Paul Lo Duca for Defamation Over Bribery Claims

Major League Baseball umpire Joe West has filed a lawsuit against ex-player Paul Lo Duca, alleging that Lo Duca defamed West by falsely accusing him of bribery. In one of his podcasts this past April, Lo Duca claimed that a teammate told him that West engaged in bribery. That teammate, Billy Wagner, allegedly told Lo Duca at a 2006 or 2007 New York Mets v. Philadelphia Phillies game that he lent West his 1957 Chevrolet in exchange for opening up the strike zone for him.…
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Dodgers Enter Legal Fight Over Valuable Jackie Robinson Contracts

The Los Angeles Dodgers will enter a legal dispute regarding the ownership of two of Jackie Robinson’s player contracts, which may be worth as much as $10 million. In 2013, Collector’s Café, run by Mykalai Kontilai, purchased two of Jackie Robinson’s MLB contracts for $2 million. One is Robinson’s historic 1947 contract with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers, in which he became the first African American to play in the MLB. The second is Robinson’s 1945 contract with the Kansas City Monarchs, the Dodgers’ minor league affiliate.…
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MLB Opposes Umpire’s Request to Withdraw Confidentiality Designations in Discrimination Lawsuit

Major League Baseball has asked a federal magistrate judge to reject umpire Angel Hernandez’s request to eliminate confidentiality designations in his racial discrimination lawsuit against the league. As we reported earlier, MLB umpire Angel Hernandez sued the league in July 2017, alleging that they discriminated against him based on his race. Hernandez has not worked the World Series since 2005 and, despite applying numerous times, was denied a promotion to crew chief. He alleged that these rejections were racially motivated and that chief baseball officer,…
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Phillie Phanatic Creators Fire Back with New Filing

Wade Harrison and Bonnie Erickson, credited with designing the Philadelphia Phillies’ mascot, the Phanatic, have filed a reply to a lawsuit alleging that the creators were threatening the baseball club with pulling the team’s rights to use the mascot. The creators have described the lawsuit by the Phillies as a “weapon.” At issue is whether the creators of the Phanatic can use the Copyright Act’s termination right – a rule made to allow authors to regain control over works they created, but signed away. The…
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NFL Officially Partners With DraftKings for Daily Fantasy

On September 26, 2019, the NFL announced that it has selected DraftKings to be its first official daily fantasy partner. Notably, this partnership deal does not include sports betting. In a joint statement, the companies stated that their partnership includes “exclusive sponsorship of the daily fantasy sports category with access to NFL branding and more.” NFL Chief Revenue Officer Renie Anderson said, “[d]aily fantasy football has been a tremendous vehicle for fans of all types to deepen their engagement with the NFL.” Over 11…
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The Death of Tyler Skaggs and Potential Liability of the Los Angeles Angels

On July 1, 2019, Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, was found dead in a hotel room in Texas several hours before his team was scheduled to play the Texas Rangers. The police in Southlake, Texas, said they found Skaggs, 27, dead in a room at the team hotel after responding to a call about an unconscious male. After an autopsy was performed, it was discovered that Skaggs died by choking on vomit after using drugs and alcohol, according to the Tarrant County, Texas…
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Cubs ADA Lawsuit Narrowed but Can Continue, Judge Rules

A lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs for failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be allowed to continue, a federal judge ruled.  In December 2017, David Cerda filed a lawsuit alleging that the Cubs violated the ADA by failing to provide enough seating for wheelchair users at Wrigley Field. Cerda, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and needs a wheelchair for mobility, claimed that the ADA requires the Cubs to offer 217 accessible seats and that the Cubs only offered 42…
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ADA Lawsuits Regarding Sightlines Could Lead to Expensive MLB Stadium Renovations

Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations and their stadiums are facing expensive potential renovations to adhere to The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)  guidelines following numerous lawsuits. This includes a lawsuit filed on behalf of four disabled Seattle Mariners fans in 2018 along with separate lawsuits against the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs. The ADA requires qualified employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations. The lawsuits allege that some MLB stadiums fail to comply…
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Pirates Settle in Foul-Ball Suit, with Net Installer as Final Defendant

The Pittsburgh Pirates have reached a confidential settlement with a woman struck by a foul ball at the Pirates’ PNC Park. Now, a jury trial will go forth under a new state court judge to determine the liability of the installer behind the allegedly defective safety net behind home plate. As we have previously reported, the suit arises from an incident that occurred in April of 2015, when a foul ball hit the netting behind home plate, and the netting deflected or stretched far…
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