Law & Policy: Civil Actions
- UConn Coach's Termination Upheld, Case to Arbitration
by David Borges June 2018
UConn men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie was fired on March 10 for “just cause” after six seasons at the helm, with more than $10 million left on his contract.
- Gym Mat Death: Parents to Exhume Body Again
by Christian Boone June 2018
The parents of a South Georgia sophomore whose body was found in a rolled-up gym mat more than five years ago, say they will exhume their son's body a second time to prove his death was no accident.
- Male Swimmer Files Title IX Suit Against Texas A&M
by Paul Steinbach June 2018
A week after a woman shared on social media her displeasure that a Texas A&M student found responsible for sexually assaulting her had been allowed to return to the university's swim team, reports indicate that the swimmer has filed a Title IX lawsuit against the school.
Austin Van Overdam, who served a one-semester suspension during a season in which he was redshirted, claims in his court filing that A&M was partial to the accuser's testimony over his, and that A&M "creates an environment in which men accused of sexual misconduct are nearly assured of a finding of responsibility," as reported by the The Bryan-College Station Eagle. He seeks a jury trial in pursuit of unspecified monetary punitive and compensatory damages based on future career earnings, loss of scholarship funds and "humiliation and embarrassment," as well as attorney's fees.
According to The Eagle, Van Overdam and Hannah Shaw met on the dating app Tindr in September 2015. The lawsuit states that after a few private messages on the app, Shaw went to Van Overdam's apartment, where the two had sex, and that "at no time did Shaw protest or voice any concerns regarding any actions that Van Overdam and/or Shaw engaged in."
Shaw insists she has been truthful throughout, beginning with statements made during the initial 2016 student conduct hearing. "I told them that, 'I brought this to you guys because I was violated by him, and I know that he doesn't think that he did anything wrong. I want him to know that he seriously hurt me, and I don't want this to happen to anyone else,'" Shaw said. "I told them that, 'I didn't do this to ruin his life. I'm not trying to get back at him.' I told them, 'I don't think you should expel him, because I'm not trying to ruin his life.' Looking back on it, I feel like they kind of used my own empathy against me."
During a week of heavy scrutiny over the Van Overdam case, multiple women have insisted that A&M has mishandled similar proceedings, and university president Michael Young has vowed an internal and external review of the school's sexual misconduct policies and procedures, according to the Dallas News.
In a statement, Van Overdam attorney Gaines West said, "A&M seems more concerned with being politically correct, rather than embracing that the Title IX law is meant to protect both women and men."
- Cowboys Cheerleader Details Lawsuit
by Catherine Kast June 2018
During the 2014-2015 NFL season, Erica Wilkins had a banner rookie year as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader [DCC]. Her total annual earnings? About $4,700 after taxes.
- NCAA Settles Concussion Lawsuit on Third Day of Trial
by Andy Berg June 2018
What was shaping up to be a lengthy trial between the NCAA and the widow of a former football player has ended in a settlement just three short days after the trial began.
- Appeal Slows Disbursement of $208M NCAA Settlement
by Steve Berkowitz June 2018
More than $208 million of what used to be the NCAA's money is sitting in a bank account, waiting to be distributed to at least 50,000 current and former college athletes as well as the lawyers who represented them in a case that was settled well over a year ago.
- Settlement Reached in Ex-Player's Hazing Lawsuit
by Mark Gokavi June 2018
A lawsuit filed against the University of Dayton by an ex-football player who said he suffered a brain injury after hard drinking during a 2014 "Mad Dogs" team event for freshmen has been settled.
- Reggie Bush Gets $12.5M for Injury at St. Louis Stadium
by Paul Steinbach June 2018
A St. Louis jury on Tuesday ordered the Rams to pay former NFL running back Reggie Bush $12.45 million for an injury he suffered during a 2015 game at the former Edward Jones Dome.
Bush was returning a punt for the San Francisco 49ers when he was pushed out of bounds and slipped on an exposed concrete surface near the stadium wall behind the Niners' bench, resulting in a season-ending tear in the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee. Bush's lawsuit, filed in 2016, referred to the concrete that encircled the stadium as "a concrete ring of death." A week prior to the Nov. 1 incident, Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown slid across the concrete and into a wall, injuring his shoulder. Two weeks after the Bush episode, the concrete was covered with a rubber padding.
An attorney representing the Rams argued that the team could not have foreseen the danger presented by the exposed concrete, given that only two players had ever been injured in that area of the field in the 20-year history of the Dome.
Bush's lawyer claimed that if it weren't for the injury, Bush likely would have landed a three-year contract in the range of $10 million to $15 million. After sitting out the remainder of the 2015 season, Bush spent one season in Buffalo and retired last year.
The jury found the Rams 100 percent liable for the injury, with the award including $4.95 million in compensatory damages and $7.5 million in punitive damages. Last week, a judge dismissed Bush's suit targeting the public agencies the own and operate the Dome, ruling that the Rams controlled stadium operation on game days.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, jurors were repeatedly shown video clips of Bush's injury in real time and in slow motion as doctors offered opinions on whether the concrete caused Bush's fall or if previous injuries contributed to it. Rams lawyers elicited testimony that Bush may have heard and felt a pop in his knee before reaching the concrete strip beyond the sidelines.
SI.com legal analyst Michael McCann explained some of the issues with the defendants' claim that Bush's history of knee trouble contributed to this particular injury:
One hurdle with such a defense is the so-called “eggshell skull” rule. It dictates that a negligent defendant is responsible for all of the harm he/she causes the plaintiff even when the plaintiff was, because of a skull “as fragile as an eggshell,” more susceptible to a worse injury than the average person.
Here, even if Bush’s preexisting problems placed him at a greater risk of an ACL tear than a typical NFL player, the Rams were still responsible for Bush’s unusually severe outcome. Missouri has adopted a version of the eggshell skull rule. It prevents defendants from attempting to minimize damages by highlighting a plaintiff’s preexisting conditions.
Bush made the case that he wasn't ready to see his career end. "I wanted to keep playing. I wanted to go out on my own terms. I never envisioned, as a little boy, my career ending, slipping and falling on concrete during a football game," said Bush, who added that the lawsuit was ultimately about player safety. "Safety always has to be a priority during games, during practices. I'll be honest with you, I've seen worse. Football's a rough sport. It's already as brutal as it can possibly be. We don't need any concrete or anything else out there that can make it even worse for guys. They've got enough to worry about with other guys trying to take their heads off."
- Man Eyed in Youth Football Theft Runs For-Profit Team
by Caitlin Schmidt June 2018
The Marana man twice accused of stealing money from youth football organizations has also been operating a second, for-profit football club and charging hundreds of dollars a month for kids to participate, according to documents obtained by the Star.
- Minnesota Players Sue University Over Assault Case
by Andy Berg June 2018
A group of nine University of Minnesota football players involved in a sexual assault case are now suing the school, alleging racial and gender discrimination.