Law & Policy: Civil Actions
- Pop Warner Football Blamed for Former Player’s Suicide
by Michael Gaio February 2015
Pop Warner youth football is being sued for $5 million following the suicide of 25-year-old Wisconsin man. The lawsuit, filed by the man’s mother, alleges her son suffered severe brain damage caused by playing youth football and that Pop Warner failed to warn players about, and protect them from, the dangers of head trauma.
- Jury: Vanderbilt Rape Defendants Guilty on All Charges
by Michael Gaio January 2015
Two former Vanderbilt football players who once had promising futures are now convicted rapists. A Nashville jury found Brandon Vandenburg, 21, of Indio, Calif. and Cory Batey, 21, of Nashville guilty of a total of 16 felony charges after raping an unconscious former student in a Vanderbilt dorm on June 23, 2013. Two other defendants, Brandon Banks and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie, who are also former Vanderbilt football players, are also accused in the case. They are awaiting trial.
- Former NCAA Chair Admits to Not Reading Freeh Report
by Emily Attwood January 2015
According to new court documents released this week, former NCAA executive committee chair and Oregon State president Ed Ray did not read the Freeh report before sanctioning Penn State’s football program. The report was the primary piece of evidence used by the NCAA to hand down sanctions.
The revelation comes from court documents filed as part of the Paterno lawsuit, Ray admitted to only reading the executive summary and press accounts. From the documents:
Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers: You reviewed the Freeh Report at or about the time it came out, I take it.
Ray: Actually, it was -- I think I did not go through the detailed report until after the agreement was reached. Remember, the report came out on the 12th. I went to Hawaii on, I don't know, the 14th. So, I may have looked at the executive summary when it came out, and certainly read press accounts, but I don't believe I read or was able to download and get a copy of the full report until after I got back, which would have been around the time of the press conference [announcing the Consent Decree], or sometime shortly thereafter.
Sollers: Did not have the Freeh Report sent out to you in Hawaii?
Ray: No. No.
Sollers: Do you recall when you got back--
Ray: So let me be clear about that. When I went to Hawaii, I didn't even know that we were going to be having any conversations about the Freeh Report. So I had no sense that I needed to prep for anything.
We went on either the 14th or the 15th, at this point I can't remember. And then we had this conference call on the 17th. So no, I didn't have the Freeh Report.
And then I came back on, I think the 19th or 20th, traveling from there, probably on the 20th, and then the 21st we had this phone call [approving the Consent Decree]. So I didn't have a lot of time to prep for anything.
"These are extraordinary circumstances," Ray said at a news conference announcing the sanctions. "The executive committee has the authority to act on behalf of the entire association in extraordinary circumstances. And we have chosen to exercise that authority.
The NCAA has been under increasing criticism as of late for its handling of the Sandusky scandal, especially with new information coming to light as part of the lawsuit filed against the NCAA by the Paterno family.
The scrutiny has also prompted a meeting of the Penn State board of trustees to discuss joining a lawsuit filed by state senators set for trial next month. The board is meeting today (January 16) to discuss and vote on a resolution to join the suit, which alleges that the NCAA had no authority to hand down its punishments.
- Oregon, Coach Sued Over Transfer's Assault History
by Michael Gaio January 2015
A University of Oregon student is suing the school and head basketball coach Dana Altman contending the school knowingly admitted a transfer student with a previous record of sexual assault. The student reported in March 2014 that she was raped by three Oregon basketball players.
- Indoor Carpeted Soccer Surface At Center of Premise Liability Lawsuit
by Kristi Schoepfer-Bochicchio December 2014
Facility owners should and typically do exercise due diligence when selecting the equipment and components that will make their businesses desirable destinations for sports participants. But how far does an owner’s duty of care extend to users once a selected product is installed?
- Should a HS Game Be Replayed Due to Ref's Mistake?
by Andrew Brandt December 2014
In Oklahoma, a high school football game has never been replayed for legal reasons.
- New Jersey Court Sets Youth Sports Lawsuit Precedent
by Andrew Brandt December 2014
According to a New Jersey appeals court, the family of a 12-year-old lacrosse player cannot sue the 11-year-old responsible for his broken arm. But the ruling may have a greater impact than just this one case.
- First Amendment on Trial in UNC Athletic Events Ban
by John T. Wolohan November 2014
An increasing number of fans believe the simple act of purchasing a ticket gives them the right to say and do anything, and that free speech, protected by the United States Constitution, allows them to heckle and harass coaches and players as they see fit.
- School, Coach Sued for Negligence in Runner Injury
by John T. Wolohan October 2014
One of the common defenses against a negligence lawsuit is sovereign or governmental immunity, which was developed in common law to provide government organizations and their employees with protection against legal liability in a lawsuit. While there are many benefits of sovereign or governmental immunity, the general theory behind the immunity is that it would be unfair to penalize all the citizens of the state for the benefit of a single person.
- Lightning Victim's Family Suing Soccer Groups, Facility
by Andrew Brandt September 2014
The parents of a 9-year-old boy struck by lighting last month in Austin, Tex. have filed a lawsuit against three soccer associations and the facility.
The boy, Alex Hermann, was struck on Aug. 26 at the Field of Dreams, part of a sports complex west of Austin. The lawsuit alleges that both the soccer associations and facility failed to meet basic standards for weather safety as well as warn of dangerous weather. Field of Dreams didn't have any lightning detection units in place, which would have been able to track lightning strikes within a predetermined radius of a facility.
Local Austin news station KVUE reports that it wasn't raining at the time of the incident, and that the strike came appeared without warning.
The family looks to claim more than $10 million in medical and emotional damages, as Hermann, according to the family's lawyer, remains in "a semi-vegitative state."
According to the family's attorney, Mark Levin, Hermann will require "around-the-clock care," and will potentially need his bedroom turned into a hospital room.
Lightning strikes causing deaths hit an all-time low in the United States last year, with 23 fatalities. So far in 2014, there have been 23.