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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One More Time: New Lawsuit Argues NCAA Must Pay Athletes Minimum Wage

Trey Johnson, a former defensive back for Villanova University, has sued the NCAA, arguing that the organization has violated federal labor law and that it must pay student-athletes a minimum wage. In his lawsuit, Johnson argues that student-athletes clearly constitute employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, he notes that college students in work-study programs are classified as employees, meaning that they are subject to minimum wage laws. Meanwhile, student-athletes, who work longer schedules and create the need for some of these work-study…
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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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Riddell Fights Hundreds of Remand Motions

On January 19, 2018, Riddell Sports Group, Inc. opposed a class of former National Football League players’ motion to remand. Riddell is a sports equipment company that specializes in football equipment, particularity football helmets. The players are a part of a massive multidistrict litigation proceeding that is suing Riddell and the NFL. According to the motion, for the past six years, the players have been preceding under one master complaint that controlled all of their claims and superseded their original complaints. In addition, the players…
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Zachary Lutz Fights for Suit Against Japanese Team to Stay in U.S.

On December 14, 2017, former New York Mets player Zachary Lutz requested the Pennsylvania federal court to keep his suit alive against Japanese baseball team owners. Rakuten Baseball Inc. moved to dismiss Lutz’s case by citing to parallel proceedings in Japan. In August, Lutz initiated the lawsuit against Rakuten Inc., the owner of Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, for refusing to sign a contract with Lutz for the 2015 season after months negotiating, which left Lutz unable to find another team under similar terms. Lutz opposed
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Ex-Players Argue NFL Moving the Goalposts on Requirements to Get Settlement Share

Sixteen retired NFL players urged a Pennsylvania federal court on Monday, November 13, 2017, to overturn a claims administrator’s changes to how claims are processed under a settlement agreement for brain injuries. The NFL reached the estimated $1 billion settlement in the concussion suit four years ago, and began accepting claims against the settlement eight months ago. Of the 1,400 players awarded damages from the league as part of the settlement, only 140 have gotten any sort of payout from the NFL. The court…
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Pennsylvania High School Students’ Concussion Class Action Allowed to Proceed

On October 10, 2017, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the overruling of preliminary objections to the plaintiffs’ complaint in a 70-page opinion, and allowed a concussion lawsuit filed by high school student-athletes to proceed. Three students, individually and on behalf of a class, have filed a negligence suit against the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) relating to concussion-related injuries sustained during participation in PIAA-regulated sports. The Commonwealth Court permitted an interlocutory appeal of the trial court’s ruling, and affirmed the lower court for the reasons…
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Zachary Lutz Hopes for Home Run in Suit Against Japanese Team over Abandoned Contract

On August 30, 2017, former New York Mets player Zachary Lutz filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania federal court against the owners of the Japanese baseball team, Rakuten Golden Eagles, for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and promissory estoppel for their sudden abandonment of his negotiated contract. Lutz debuted with the New York Mets in 2012, and in 2014 he decided to sign a contract with the Golden Eagles for the 2014 season, which spanned from June 2014 to November 2014. As the end of the 2014 season…
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Pennsylvania Appeals Court Denies NCAA’s Efforts to Appeal Negligence Finding in NCAA Death Suit

The NCAA’s efforts to appeal a Pennsylvania court’s finding that the NCAA was negligent in failing to require Division II schools screen for sickle-cell trait were denied on December 28, 2016. The case arose after Jack Hill Jr., a Slippery Rock University student, died following a high-intensity basketball practice due to sickle-cell trait complications. Jack Jr.’s parents, Jack and Cheryl Hill, filed suit against the University and the NCAA, arguing the university’s failure to administer sickle-trait testing prior to allowing them to participate in athletics…
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Criminal Case Against Bill Cosby Moves Forward

On February 3, 2016, in Norristown Pennsylvania, a judge denied Bill Cosby’s motion to dismiss criminal charges against him. The newly elected Montgomery County District Attorney, Kevin Steele, has filed three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault based upon the allegations from Andrea Constand. She claims she was sexually assaulted by Cosby in 2004. If Cosby is convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison and along with civil fines in State of Pennsylvania. The motion to dismiss is based upon former District…
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