Law & Policy: Civil Actions
Lawsuits Against NCAA Starting to 'Change the Landscape'
by Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY Sports June 2014
On Day 1 of the trial in the Ed O'Bannon class-action antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, the biggest development had nothing to do with O'Bannon, even though he was the opening witness Monday.
Braves Appeal Lawsuit Involving 2010 Foul-Ball Injury
by Bill Rankin; Staff June 2014
The foul ball sliced into the seats behind the Atlanta Braves dugout and rocketed into the head of an 8-year-old boy. On the mound, pitcher Julio Teheran collapsed into a crouch, clasping his head with his hands. The batter, Milwaukee Brewers' outfielder Carlos Gomez, knelt, bowed his head and made the sign of the cross. Play was briefly suspended, and the TV cameras followed the boy's father as he carried the stricken child out of the stands. "It was fast and hard," Teheran said of the line-drive foul that struck the young fan May 20 in Atlanta. "No one had a chance to get out of the way." The field-level seats behind each dugout at Turner Field can be dangerous territory, particularly when a major league hitter fouls a line drive at 90 mph into the crowd. (An engineering professor who testified in a Boston Red Sox case said the foul ball that struck a woman in the face went from bat to fan in one second.)
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.
For Some Ex-Athletes, $40M EA Settlement is Bittersweet
by Matthew Piper The Salt Lake Tribune June 2014
Utah senior wide receiver Dres Anderson says he achieved a lifelong goal when he first made it in the game. The video game. Ever since he was a redshirt freshman in July 2010, Anderson -- or, rather, an unnamed player with Anderson's number, measurements and an approximation of his physical attributes -- has appeared in Electronic Arts' NCAA Football series.
Falcons Stadium Bond Faces New Challenge by Residents
by Katie Leslie; Staff June 2014
A group of English Avenue and Vine City residents are appealing a Fulton County Superior Court judge's approval of Atlanta's plans to partially finance the new Falcons stadium.
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.