Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

September 2018 Archives

Are Schools Liable for High School Football Injuries?

The school year is in full swing, and so are high school sports. Athletes love to play, and students love to watch. Often, the more contact, the better! But what happens when a student-athlete is injured? Is the school liable, specifically in the case of high school football?

In the East Bay of Northern California, on the same Friday night, two football players from two different schools in two different games both ended up with major nerve trauma and were flown to same hospital. Though high school football injuries are uncommon, they certainly aren't rare. Can parents sue for their children's injuries? The answer is, it depends.

Just as former NFL players had done with their league, dozens of professional wrestlers had filed lawsuits claiming World Wrestling Entertainment knew of the risks of repeated head injuries and concussions and failed to warn them. But six of those lawsuits didn't follow the script, according to a federal judge in WWE's home state of Connecticut.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant tossed a series of suits over the top rope for failing to "comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure" or even "set forth the factual basis of their claims or defenses clearly and concisely in separately numbered paragraphs."

Modern stationary cycles have come a long way since the exercise bike you left in the basement for years after that one Christmas until you unloaded it on that sap at the garage sale. Nowadays at-home bikes can give you that spin class vibe, or replicate stages of the Tour de France. And with web-enabled software, you can track your fitness and compete with other riders without leaving your exercise room, taking you far beyond the two pedals, one wheel, and handlebars setups of the 70s.

With all that new tech, there are bound to be a few intellectual property disagreements, and the mother of all exercise cycle lawsuits may finally have arrived. Peloton, maker of the first at-home exercise bike that allowed riders to compete in real-time and over historical benchmarks, is suing Flywheel Sports, for allegedly stealing its software and graphic interface.

It's the week of resurrected legal claims against the NFL. Just days after the Ninth Circuit revived a lawsuit claiming the league was complicit in players' long-term health effects and addiction to painkillers, the Second Circuit rekindled a different lawsuit claiming the NFL and Associated Press failed to pay royalties to several photographers for the use of photos they took at and during games.

The photographers allege the NFL has made "widespread use" of their work, all without payment, claiming "the NFL has committed thousands of individual acts of copyright infringement."

"It's as if one spouse walks in the door and says to his or her spouse, 'I'm leaving you. I've found someone who loves me more. And oh, by the way, I'll still be living with you while we build our dream house together.'"

That was Raiders CEO Amy Trask, responding to news that the City of Oakland will be filing an antitrust lawsuit against Raiders ownership and the National Football League, claiming that the league and other team owners colluded to move the franchise to Las Vegas. The city claims it's more like "I've found someone whom I love more," after eleventh hour attempts to keep the team in Oakland were rebuffed. And, according to Oakland Coliseum authorities, the lawsuit could mean that love-seeking ex-spouse getting kicked out of the home much sooner than expected.

Originally filed in 2014, a lawsuit by and on behalf of former NFL players claiming the league was complicit in long-term damage and addiction to painkillers has gone through a few ups and downs. A federal judge dismissed the proposed class-action, finding that the players' collective bargaining agreement with the league required players to turn to arbitration to resolve the dispute. (Meanwhile another painkiller lawsuit was filed and cleared that hurdle.)

This week, however, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the prior dismissal of the original lawsuit, finding "the district court erred in holding that the players' claims were preempted."

Sports blogging can be an unrequited love. While a select few have made careers out of covering sports online, the vast majority, those that create most of the content and account for most of the traffic, are underpaid, if they're paid at all. A Deadspin report on sports blogging empire SB Nation last year noted that "Many, perhaps even most, contributors do not get paid; no one is paid well."

Weeks after that piece published, Cheryl Bradley, a site manager at SB Nation Colorado Avalanche blog Mile High Hockey, filed a lawsuit against SB Nation parent company Vox Media, claiming federal wage and hour law violations. This week, a judge refused to dismiss the case, ruling that there were legitimate questions about whether the bloggers and site managers were Vox employees or independent contractors.

Juan Ángel Napout was the president of South American soccer's governing body, CONMEBOL, and a FIFA Vice President when he was arrested and indicted on racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering charges in 2015. Those charges stemmed from a massive Justice Department investigation into fraud and corruption in FIFA, the association that governs world soccer.

Napout was ultimately convicted of one count of conspiratorial racketeering and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, all relating to schemes to accept millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to various soccer tournaments. Now, the former head of the Paraguayan Football Association is facing nine years in prison and $1 million in fines.