Law & Policy: Civil Actions
Yankees Fan Caught Sleeping Suing MLB, ESPN
by Emily Attwood July 2014
No, he’s not suing because the Yankees failed to deliver a fan experience worthy of watching. The fan, Andrew Rector, has filed a lawsuit alleging defamation after video of him sleeping was broadcast on ESPN, along with some colorful commentary from announcers John Kruk and Dan Shulman, who are named in the suit along with the MLB, the Yankees and ESPN.
Death Sparks Lawsuit Over Codes, Staples Center Design
by John T. Wolohan June 2014
As is often the case in law, how the courts interpret a statute is often the determining factor in the case. For example, California Building Standards Code (CBSC) states that the top of guardrails shall not be less than 42 inches in height, except in front of the first row of fixed balcony seats. In that case, the top of the guardrail may be 26 inches in height.
YMCA Embroiled In Lyme Disease Summer Camp Lawsuit
by Kristi Schoepfer-Bochicchio June 2014
In October, the parents of 17-year-old Ariana Sierzputowski filed a $41.7 million negligence lawsuit against YMCA Camp Mohawk, an overnight camp for 7- to 15-year-old girls located in Litchfield, Conn. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, alleges that Sierzputowski contracted Lyme disease while at the camp in 2011, when she was 14 years old.
Washington Redskins Lose Federal Trademarks
by Michael Gaio June 2014
In what's being called a "landmark decision," the United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six federal trademark registrations for the name of the Washington Redskins, ruling that the name is "disparaging to Native Americans." Due to its "disparaging" nature, the name cannot be trademarked under federal law which prohibits protection of offensive or disparaging language.
NCAA Settles EA Video Game Lawsuit
by Michael Gaio June 2014
The NCAA announced Monday morning it had agreed to settle the lawsuit brought against it over the popular college-themed Electronic Arts video games.
Falling Mirror At Center of Health Club Lawsuit
by By Kristi Schoepfer-Bochicchio May 2014
In January 2010, Michael Hawkins, a member of X-Sport Fitness in Chicago, sustained injuries when a mirror fell from the wall and struck him while he was exercising. Specifically, Hawkins was seated on a bench doing arm curls with free weights in front of a three-by-eight-foot mirror that was mounted on a protruding portion of the wall. As Hawkins used the weights, another patron bumped the mirror and dislodged it.
Kickboxing Class Lawsuit Focuses on Gross Negligence
by By John T. Wolohan April 2014
Longtime readers of this column know that in most states, a well-written waiver, signed by an adult, can be an effective tool in protecting fitness and recreation providers from ordinary negligence, but what about gross negligence? That issue was at the heart of Honeycutt v. Meridian Sports Club, 179 Cal. Rptr. 3d 473 (2014).
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.