NFL Running Backs Could Break from Players’ Union

On August 9, 2019, a group called the International Brotherhood of Professional Running Backs (IBPRB) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking that NFL running backs be severed from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and formed into a new union.

According to the IBPRB, NFL running backs “have unique career structures; and the current one-size fits all [approach to players contracts] is inappropriate.” The petition looms over the ongoing talks between the NFLPA and the NFL over a new collective bargaining …

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Former NFL Defensive End Appeals to Third Circuit in Concussion Lawsuit

Amon Gordon, a 37-year-old former NFL defensive end, appealed to the Third Circuit in his legal battle against the NFL for not alerting its players of the long-term medical impact of concussions. Specifically, Gordon played eight seasons in the NFL and is fighting for his entitlement to a 2015 uncapped settlement of roughly 20,000 players to awards of up to $5 million, depending on the age and severity of their football-related injuries, according to Law360.

There is a belief among the legal community that …

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Raiders Prevail in Lawsuit Against City of Oakland

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero granted the Oakland Raiders, the NFL, and 31 other NFL teams their motion to dismiss a lawsuit from the City of Oakland on Thursday. In a 30-page order, Judge Spero found that a city cannot recover damages based on tax revenue from the “broad scope of economic activity associated with the presence of a professional football team.” The Raiders previously claimed the City of Oakland could “lose significant tax and other income” associated with the Raiders’ pending move …

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NFL Insurers Seek to Avoid Reimbursing the NFL for Concussion Settlement Due to Missing Discovery

Insurers for the National Football League (NFL) petitioned a New York state court judge on June 14, 2019, demanding “underlying documents” from the NFL’s litigation and settlement in the class-action lawsuit involving over 1,000 former professional football players and their families regarding concussions and chronic brain trauma. The insurers are seeking to escape reimbursing the NFL, which could prompt further litigation. In oral arguments, a coalition of 28 insurers claimed that the NFL did not produce adequate discovery during litigation after its concussion settlement

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AP Photographers Moving Closer to the End Zone as a Deal in Their Copyright Battle is Close

The National Football League (NFL) appears to be close to finalizing a settlement with a number of Associated Press (AP) photographers regarding an ongoing dispute stemming from royalty payments. Counsel notified U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty on June 3, 2019 that the parties are in the process of finalizing a confidential settlement agreement. According to the letter, a motion to dismiss is expected within the next 45 days.

The suit, brought by Paul Spinelli and six other photographers, alleged that the NFL exploited thousands …

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Litigation Funding Companies Claim Judge Improperly Assumed Jurisdiction in Concussion Settlement Case

On January 23, 2019, three litigation-funding companies, RD Legal Funding LLC, Atlas Legal Funding LLC, and Thrivest Specialty Funding LLC told a three-judge panel that U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody, the judge who oversaw the NFL concussion case settlement, improperly assumed jurisdiction over third party funding contracts between the companies and the former players. The litigation funding companies argued that Judge Brody lacked jurisdiction to bar the litigation funding companies from recovering their stake in the settlement.

As we have previously reported, in …

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Judge Denies Reviving Patriots’ “Deflategate” Suit

The Massachusetts Appeals Court denied to revive the so-called “Deflategate” suit brought by a proposed class of New England Patriots fans, seeking damages and injunctive relief against the National Football League, Commissioner Roger Goodell, and Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft.

The suit stems from the highly controversial accusations against Tom Brady for his alleged role in the scheme to deflate footballs below the PSI range defined by league rules. Commissioner Goodell fined the Patriots $1 million, suspended Brady for four games, and took away …

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Arbitrator Denies Eric Reid’s Grievance Against Bengals

On October 23, 2018, it was announced that an arbitrator denied the National Football League Players Association’s (NFLPA) grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals. As we have previously reported, on July 11, 2018, the NFLPA filed a grievance against the NFL over its national anthem policy. The policy, announced in May 2018, instructed players to either stand during the anthem or to not come out of the locker room until the anthem is over. In response, the NFLPA filed several non-injury grievances “on behalf …

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Junior Seau’s Family and the NFL Settle Wrongful Death Suit

On October 5, 2018, Junior Seau’s family settled their lawsuit with the NFL; however, the particulars of the settlement are confidential. As we have previously reported, Seau, who played for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots, took his one life, at the age of 43, in 2012. An autopsy report showed that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a condition caused by repeated brain trauma. In 2013, Seau’s family filed a wrongful death and joined a class of …

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NFL Painkiller Class Action Resurrected by 9th Circuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a class action filed by former NFL players, sending the case back to federal court. The suit claims the NFL encouraged players to abuse painkillers, including opioids.

In 2014, the lower court sided with the NFL, holding that the claims were preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL team owners and athletes. Now, however, the 9th Circuit has …

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