Law & Policy: Civil Actions
Soccer Team Punished Over Fatal Fan Violence Incident
by Super User May 2014
A Brazilian soccer team was ordered to play its next two home games in an empty stadium after a man was fatally struck on the head by a toilet bowl thrown from the stands during fan violence last weekend.
If Sterling Fights NBA Ban, It Could Get Ugly
by Brent Schrotenboer, @Schrotenboer, USA TODAY Sports May 2014
Like a movie villain who jumps back to life in the final scene, Donald Sterling might have one last act of horror in store for the NBA. It's a nightmare scenario for the Los Angeles Clippers: Sterling fights to keep his family's ownership of the team, dragging out his case and creating a problem for the league next season if players decide they won't work for a team owned by Sterling. Sterling has been publicly mum on his plans since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned him for life Tuesday. Sterling's attorney declined to comment when contacted Thursday by USA TODAY Sports. But independent attorneys note Sterling has the deep pockets needed to stage lengthy court battles against big opponents. He's also a former divorce attorney who knows how to extract benefits from ugly separations. "He has a long history of filing cases, whether they are well-founded or not," said Jeffrey Kessler, a New York attorney who specializes in antitrust and sports law.
Rec Director in Credit Card Case Takes First Lawsuit Step
by Thomas J. Prohaska; News Niagara Reporter May 2014
LOCKPORT - A notice of claim, which is a mandatory first step toward filing a lawsuit, was submitted Thursday by Melissa I. Junke, Lockport's youth and recreation director, over the disclosure of her name in connection with a probe of misuse of city credit cards. The notice gives Junke one year to follow up with a formal lawsuit, said her attorney, George V.C. Muscato.
Sterling Likely to Deploy Legal Barriers to Clippers Sale
by Jeff Zillgitt, @JeffZillgitt, USA TODAY Sports May 2014
The NBA's constitution and bylaws lay out a speedy resolution for termination of ownership, but that does not take into account the possibility that Donald Sterling drags the league into a long court battle over Commissioner Adam Silver's decision to ban Sterling from the NBA for life and force him to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.
Court: Octane Fitness Can Collect Patent Case Legal Fees
by JIM SPENCER; STAFF WRITER, STAR TRIBUNE (Mpls.-St. Paul) May 2014
WASHINGTON - In a decision that experts say could deter frivolous patent lawsuits, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a Brooklyn Park maker of exercise equipment will be able to collect legal fees from a company that unsuccessfully sued it for patent infringement. The Minnesota company, Octane Fitness, had sought legal fees after a judge dismissed a patent infringement suit brought by another equipment maker, Icon Health & Fitness.
Athletes' Unionization Attempt Scores Major Victory
by Michael Gaio March 2014
In their attempt to unionize college athletes, the Northwestern football players and the recently formed College Athletes Players Association scored a major victory on Wednesday.
Former WVU Football Player the Latest to Sue NCAA
by Michael Gaio March 2014
Former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston is the latest former student-athlete to sue the NCAA. Alston filed suit against the NCAA and college football's five major conferences on Wednesday, claiming they violated antitrust laws by agreeing to cap the value of an athletic scholarship at less than the actual cost of attending school.
Judge Sends O'Bannon Class Action Against NCAA to Trial
by Emily Attwood February 2014
Remember Ed O'Bannon, the former UCLA basketball player who filed suit against the NCAA more than four years ago, alleging it was profiting off of O’Bannon and other NCAA athletes’ likenesses found in EA Sports video games? After a long and winding road, a federal judge has okayed the class-action suit to go to trial, setting a start date of June 9.
While it is still possible a settlement between the NCAA and the plaintiffs will be reached prior to the start of the trial, the outcome of the lawsuit could have drastic consequences for the NCAA, college athletic conferences and television networks. At the heart of the lawsuit is the NCAA rule that prohibits student-athletes from profiting off of the use of their name, likeness or image.
"We're not asking for any money to be paid," said Michael Hausfeld, attorney for the plaintiffs, during a summary judgment hearing on Thursday. "We are asking for the restraint to be removed ... and then the market will determine how it plays out."
In January 2013, the lawsuit expanded to allow current athletes to join, as well as target other entities profiting off of athletes’ likenesses, including conferences and television networks. The plaintiffs are in the process of working out settlement details in their suit against EA Sports.
Thursday’s hearing took into account various arguments by both sides, including the NCAA’s assertion that the First Amendment protected it from requiring athletes’ permission to broadcast their appearances at games. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken also called into question whether the NCAA’s no-pay rule violated antitrust laws.
"Up to this point you always heard the NCAA argue that these restraints are lawful -- purportedly," Hausfeld said. "We're done with that. There's no presumptions. This court is saying if we go to trial, you're going to have to prove that."
Should a jury rule in favor of the plaintiffs, the results could bankrupt the NCAA, though a lengthy appeals process would first ensue. A less drastic outcome could result in concessions from both sides, with restrictions on athletes’ ability to profit from their likenesses removed or lessened, or schools agreeing to set aside a portion of revenues for athletes.
$1.7M Settlement Reached in P.E. Class Drowning
by Nick Daniels February 2014
More than one year after the tragic drowning of a high school student in Manchester, Conn., the Hartford Courant reported Sunday that a $1.7 million settlement had been reached between Malvrick Donkor’s family and the town of Manchester.
Donkor — a beginning swimmer — had been participating in a high school swimming class Nov. 21, 2012 when he left the shallow end of the pool for the deep end. Although other students had been swimming in the pool at the same time, no one noticed Donkor's absence until the end of class, by which time it was too late for the 14-year-old to be revived.
Despite a police investigation into the drowning after the incident, the police decided that there was no reason for a criminal prosecution. Donkor's family went on to file intent to sue for wrongful death and damages, alleging that school administrators failed."to protect, care, supervise, rescue and/or provide timely medical care."
“The settlement was in the best interests of the town and (Malvrick’s) estate,” Town Attorney Ryan Barry told the Courant. “We wish the family well.”
The drowning was the second by a Connecticut high school student in 2012, which has sparked a statewide effort to improve pool safety measures in high schools.
Facility Fails to Protect Stabbed Flag Football Player
by Kristi Schoepfer-Bochicchio February 2014
In June 2010, adult flag football player James Hilario was stabbed by opposing player Justin Farland during a game at an indoor sports and recreation facility in Somerset, Mass. Hilario sued the facility, owned by Teamworks, a private entity operating multiple indoor sports and recreation facilities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The lawsuit alleged that Teamworks was negligent for failing to provide proper security, implement safety and security procedures, and ban Farland from the facility when Teamworks management could have known that he possessed a knife.