Professional Sports Unions Blast Illinois Workers’ Compensation Proposal

As discussed previously on the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider last month, Illinois has introduced a Senate Bill to limit the age that an injured Illinois professional athlete can collect workers’ compensation benefits to the age of 35. Since that time, professional sports unions have come out strongly in opposition to the measure, including the National Football League’s Player Association (NFLPA) and the Major League Soccer Player’s Union.

The NFLPA, after previously warning that the proposed measure could result in free agents being cautioned against …

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Amateur Weightlifter/Santa Barbara Police Officer Sentenced for Workers’ Comp Fraud

Jacob Finnerty was recently sentenced to 120 days in jail, five years of probation, and more than $115,000 in restitution based on charges of workers’ compensation fraud.

Finnerty was a former offensive lineman in college and a competitive wrestler and weightlifter who subsequently became a Santa Barbara police officer. In 2013, he claimed a lower back injury arising out of his work duties when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Investigators, however, subsequently discovered that Finnerty was continuing to participate in wrestling and …

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Federal Judge Refuses Chiefs Players’ Request

On December 3, 2013, a group of five former Kansas City Chiefs football players filed a workers’ compensation lawsuit against the Chiefs. The uniqueness about this lawsuit stems from the fact that this is one of the first cases suing a specific National Football League. The case parallels many claims made in the suit brought against the NFL; however, it questions “whether concussion-related cases should be heard by an arbitrator under the auspices of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.” These players chose to sue only …

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Ninth Circuit Finds No Jurisdiction in Former NFL Player’s Lawsuit

On May 19, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit bought by Travelers Indemnity Company regarding workers’ compensation benefits paid to former National Football League player Jim Rourke.

Rourke, an offensive lineman who played with multiple teams including the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints in the 1980s, filed a claim in California for cumulative injuries as a result of his time in the NFL, including in games played in California. Travelers insured …

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Ex-Knick Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits Under California Law

On October 1, 2015 the Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, concluded that former NBA player Durant “Rudy” Macklin was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Macklin, a former Louisiana State University standout, was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks and played two seasons with the team before being traded to the New York Knicks.  Macklin would later sign a contract with the Los Angeles Clippers though he never played an NBA game for the team.  Macklin alleged: (i) that while he was with the …

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Former Major League Baseball Umpire Loses Comp Appeal Seeking Continuing Benefits

Mark Hirschbeck, a former Major League Baseball umpire ultimately sidelined following a hip replacement and subsequent complications, lost his bid to receive continuing workers’ compensation benefits before the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department.

Hirschbeck retired part-way into the 2003 season when it was determined that he needed a hip replacement as a result of a 2002 injury. He received benefits through the New York workers’ compensation system and was subsequently deemed permanently partially disabled. Hirschbeck commenced a separate action alleging medical …

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Rochester Lancers Disband Over Concerns of Inflated Workers’ Compensation Costs

New York, frequently pointed to as one of the most expensive states for workers’ compensation costs and claims, has recently claimed victim to a professional soccer team due to rising insurance costs.  The Rochester Lancers, an indoor soccer team in the Major Arena Soccer League, disbanded due to a sharp rise in workers’ compensation insurance costs.

In an impassioned open letter to fans, Lancers owner Salvatore “SoccerSam” Fantauzzo cited an 800% increase by the New York State Insurance Fund as reason for the team’s folding …

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Workers’ Compensation Benefits Granted to Exotic Club Dancer Shot at Club in South Carolina

In a March 18, 2015 decision, the Supreme Court of South Carolina granted workers’ compensation benefits to an exotic dancer who was shot and injured during the course of her work activities.

Although the legal conclusion was contested, the facts were not in dispute. Claimant LeAndra Lewis worked as an exotic dancer at multiple establishments in North and South Carolina.  On July 23, 2008, claimant was working at the Boom Boom Room Studio 54 when she was struck by a bullet fired during an altercation, …

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Reality TV Star “Bridezilla” Charged with Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Anita Maxwell, a guest on Season 4 of the reality television show “Bridezillas” in 2007, was recently arraigned in California on multiple felony charges stemming from allegations of workers’ compensation fraud resulting in improper receipt of over $40,000 in benefits.

Maxwell, who also was left at the altar during her appearance on the popular show, was employed by the Cedars-Sinai Health System and came under investigation in 2012 after a claim for a neck, back, and shoulder injury.  Reportedly, Maxwell denied pre-existing conditions although she …

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Red Carpet Makeup Mobile Owner Arrested for Violation of Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Fashion meets fraud in a bizarre workers’ compensation investigation in New York.

Ms. Nneka Ingram was previously featured in a June 2014 news article on CBS New York and is a former MTA bus driver who reportedly spent $20,000 on a “bling and makeup mobile.”  A short commercial posted in July 2014 is available on YouTube detailing the origins and services of Ms. Ingram’s business, the Celebrities Mobile Boutique.

However, CBS New York has reported that Ms. Ingram was recently arrested on charges of grand …

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