The Sports Lawyer March 2015

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1 THE SPORTS LAWYER In This Issue March 2015 Adrian Peterson s Suspension Overturned by Judge Ernie Banks Estranged Wife Sues for Rights to His Remains Caddies Sue PGA for Wearing Corporate Logos Without Compensation Little League International Vacates Jackie Robinson West s U.S. Championship Also Faculty Editors Gary Roberts Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Gabe Feldman Tulane University Law School Student Editors Joseph Nguyen Senior Managing Editor Jeff D. Karas Senior Articles Editor Victoria Acuff Junior Articles Editor Spencer Low Tate Martin Caroline Carmer Alex Heath Breard Snellings Fritz Metzinger Ruben Garcia Deniz Koray Staff Rory McIlroy Settles Lawsuit Against Ex-Agent John Chavis Files Suit Against New and Former Employers Mother Sues Pop Warner League After Son s Suicide Lance Armstrong to Pay $10 million in Arbitration Loss National Football Table of Contents National Football League 2, Major League Baseball 3, PGA Tour 4, National Collegiate Athletic Association 6, Other News 7 1

2 League National Football League Adrian Peterson s Suspension Overturned by Judge On February 26, 2015, U.S. District Judge David S. Doty overturned the suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The National Football League (NFL) announced that it would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis. On September 11, 2014, Peterson was indicted in Texas on a felony charge of reckless or negligent injury of a child for actions he took in disciplining his son in May of that year. Peterson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge in November, and during that time was scheduled to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Before then, however, Peterson was suspended for the remainder of the season and at least until April 15 for violating the league s personal conduct policy. Harold Henderson, a league-appointed arbitrator, upheld the NFL s decision despite the conduct policy having been formed after Peterson s legal affairs has concluded. Judge Doty, in setting aside the suspension, reasoned that Henderson s ruling was not acceptable even though the new policy was consistent with the old policy; furthermore, the basis for this reasoning came from Goodell s own admission that the new policy could not be used retroactively to punish Ray Rice for his own violations. This is a victory for the rule of law, due process and fairness, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) said on behalf of Peterson. Our collective bargaining agreement has rules for implementation of the personal conduct policy and when those rules are violated, our union always stands up to protect our players' rights... neutral arbitration is good for our players, good for the owners and good for our game. Jeffrey L. Kessler and David L. Greenspan of Winston and Strawn LLP in New York City along with Barbara P. Berens of Minneapolis-based firm Berens & Miller, P.A. represent the NFLPA. The NFL released a statement saying, [W]e believe strongly that Judge Doty's order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established legal precedent governing the district court's role in reviewing arbitration decisions. The NFL is represented by Daniel L. Nash and Marla S. Axelrod of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington D.C., along with Joseph G Schmitt and Peter D. Gray of the Minneapolis firm Nilan Johnson Lewis PA. Until the appeal occurs, Peterson will return and remain on the commissioner s exempt list. -- Ruben Garcia 2

3 Major League Baseball Ernie Banks Estranged Wife Sues for Rights to His Remains On February 2, 2015, Ernie Banks estranged wife Elizabeth Banks filed a petition in Cook County Probate Court in Chicago, Illinois to prevent Regina Rice from cremating his remains. Elizabeth Banks alleges that she would suffer irreparable harm if Rice carries out her intention to cremate Ernie Banks. Ernie Banks began and ended his Hall of Fame baseball career as a Chicago Cub. On October 17, 2014, he modified his will and selected Regina Rice, caretaker and longtime friend, to be the executor. The document states that he was in the process of finalizing divorce from Elizabeth Banks, but it does not declare where or how he wished to be buried. However, in 1996 around Banks 65th birthday, he told a Chicago Tribune reporter he wanted his ashes spread at Wrigley Field. Banks passed away on January 23, 2015, and Rice filed his will in probate court on January 29, six days later. Elizabeth Banks alleges the right to bury Banks and claims she is without recourse and will suffer irreparable damages if Rice is allowed to cremate him. The court agreed, and Judge James G. Riley granted Elizabeth Banks petition. According to a spokesperson for the Cook County Clerk s Office, Banks death certificate states he was buried at Graceland Cemetery on February 6. [Elizabeth Banks] received a court order giving her permission to get him buried, and she acted in accordance with that court order and buried her husband," according to her attorney Mark Bogen of Bogen Law Group in Boca Raton, Florida. Banks is also represented by Howard S. Golden of Robbins, Salomon & Pratt, LTD in Chicago. He made me promise to adhere to his wishes and I am determined to do just that, Rice said in a statement from her attorney. Rice is represented by Linda C. Chatman of Chatman Law Office LLC in Chicago. -- Caroline Carmer 3

4 PGA Tour Caddies Sue PGA for Wearing Corporate Logos Without Compensation On February 3, 2015, caddies for the PGA Tour filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, demanding compensation for wearing bibs that display the names and logos of corporate sponsors. The caddies claim that the PGA Tour makes more than $50 million annually from the public display of corporate logos, especially during televised tournaments, but they receive no compensation in return. Caddies on the PGA Tour are required to wear bibs over their clothing that prominently display the logos of corporate sponsors. The plaintiffs, which consist of 82 caddies for professional golfers, claim that the value of displaying the sponsorships is $50 million each year. The caddies have also alleged that players on the PGA Tour have been approached by officials to see if they would stop hiring caddies if they refused to wear the required bibs without compensation. Caddies are considered independent contractors rather than PGA Tour employees and have had problems with Tour officials in the past. In November 2013, they formed the Association of Professional Tour Caddies ( APTC ) to represent their interests. Not all PGA Tour caddies are involved in the suit, including those for some of the most prominent and highly paid golfers, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. However, among the 82 plaintiffs, there are some high-profile caddies, including Mike Hicks, who has caddied for the late Payne Stewart, Greg Norman, and Justin Leonard in more than three decades on the tour. In addition to actual damages, the caddies are seeking treble and punitive damages. They are also seeking an injunction that would prevent PGA officials from retaliating against the plaintiffs while the suit is ongoing. This is simply about fairness and what is right, said Kenny Harms, a caddie for tour pro Kevin Na and one of the plaintiffs in the case. Any working professional deserves to be paid based on the income they generate. That's not happening on the PGA Tour, he added. The plaintiffs are represented by Lee Cirsch of the Lanier Law Firm, P.C. in Los Angeles, W. Mark Lanier, Eugene R. Egdorf, Benjamin T. Major, and Ryan D. Ellis of the Lanier Law Firm, P.C. in Houston, and Arthur R. Miller of the Lanier Law Firm, P.C. in New York City. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said all of the caddies conflicts should be settled with the golfers rather than the Tour since the caddies officially work for the golfers. The historical process is the player handles that (caddie compensation) and they are employees of the player we would like to continue that system and let it go on, Finchem said. A hearing date has not yet been set. -- Deniz Koray 4

5 Rory McIlroy Settles Lawsuit Against Ex-Agent On February 4, 2015, Rory McIlroy and Horizon Sports Management reached an out-of-court settlement agreement in order to avoid a hearing in Irish Commercial Court. The settlement agreement reportedly called for McIlroy to pay upwards of $20 million to Horizon Sports Management. McIlroy had alleged that the contract he signed with his former management company Horizon Sports Management included unfair and inflated commissions. In October 2011, Rory McIlroy left International Sports Management in order to enter into an agreement with Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management. However, two years into the agreement, the relationship between McIlroy and Horizon Sports Management had turned sour. This led McIlroy to end his contract with Horizon and start his own company. In October 2013, McIlroy sued Horizon Sports Management for unfair and inflated commissions. Furthermore, McIlroy claimed that the contract was unconscionable because at the time he entered the agreement he was too young and lacked the necessary legal advice. In response to McIlroy s claims, Horizon countersued seeking outstanding payments still owed under their contract agreement. In the fall of 2014, McIlroy and his counsel offered Horizon a settlement offer of $12 million, which was rejected. Ultimately, after the trial had commenced for a brief period of time, the parties were able to come to a settlement agreement where McIlroy would pay an estimated $20 million plus any costs to settle the case. In wake of the settlement agreement, the parties released a joint statement that read, The legal dispute between Rory McIlroy and Horizon Sports Management has been settled to the satisfaction of both parties, who wish each other well in the future. Furthermore, McIlroy in a recent interview said, If there s one good thing that s came out of all of this, it s being able to set up my own management team and my own management company. Senior counsel, Paul Gallagher from Dublin, represented Rory McIlroy and senior counsel, Paul Sreenan from Dublin, represented Horizon Sports Management. -- Alexander Heath 5

6 National Collegiate Athletic Association John Chavis Files Suit Against New and Former Employers On February 27, 2015, former Louisiana State University (LSU) defensive coordinator John Chavis filed suit in Texas District Court in Brazos County, Texas for breach of contract. Chavis is seeking declaratory judgment for an alleged violation of his employment agreement with LSU which would require a liquidated damages payment of $400,000. If the court determines he is responsible for this payment, he wishes to have his new employer, Texas A&M University, pay the fine. Texas A&M has stated that if Chavis is found responsible for the $400,000, the university will have no problem paying it, but the fact that they could be held responsible for the payment is the reason for its inclusion in the suit. Chavis claims that his contract with LSU allowed him to terminate his contract without cause if he gave the school 30 days notice. If he did so when there was fewer than 11 months left on the deal, he would owe LSU nothing in regards to liquidated damages. If he terminated the contract when there was between 11 to 23 months left on the deal, he would owe the school $400,000. Chavis claims he turned in his 30 days notice of termination on January 5, 2015, which would put his last day of employment February 4th which falls within the 11th month of his agreement and would not make him responsible for the payment. LSU demanded payment on January 2, 2015, believing that his employment was terminated sooner than Chavis states it was and therefore fell within the 11- to 23-month time period. Bill Youngkin, attorney for John Chavis, stated about Texas A&M s inclusion in the suit, Coach Chavis could not be happier to be the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M Texas A&M was included in the lawsuit because it is an indispensable party and its inclusion is necessary to resolve the dispute LSU has created. Texas A&M Senior Associate Athletic Director Jason Cook echoed these sentiments, stating, There is not a dispute between Coach Chavis and Texas A&M [and, the] University stands behind its commitment to Coach Chavis to pay any buyout due to LSU. The issue is that Texas A&M disagrees with LSU that any buyout payment is actually due. LSU issued a statement on the case and its decision to file a countersuit in Baton Rouge, saying, The state of Texas is not a proper venue to decide a contractual dispute between Louisiana State University and one of its former coaches, and LSU will pursue immediate dismissal of Chavis' suit. LSU has also initiated a legal action against Chavis in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to recover the $400,000 buy-out owed to LSU by Chavis. LSU regrets that what is ordinarily a simple matter must be resolved in litigation, but it will vigorously defend the contractual and constitutional rights of the University. -- Tate Martin 6

7 Other News Little League International Vacates Jackie Robinson West s U.S. Championship On February 11, 2015, Little League International (LLI) stripped Chicago-based team Jackie Robinson West of its 2014 United States title, suspended team manager Darold Butler, and removed district administrator Michael Kelley from his post. The punishment resulted from LLI s finding that Jackie Robinson West drew false district boundaries in order to illegally use players living outside the team s designated geographic area. Jackie Robinson West captivated the nation s attention last summer as it romped to a U.S. Championship and a berth in the International Championship against South Korea during last August s Little League World Series. Soon thereafter, however, coach Chris Janes of neighboring Evergreen Park Little League began to swirl rumors that the team had selected ringers from outside the Illinois District 4 area in order to bolster its squad. Other coaches subsequently joined the chorus of those calling for an investigation. After initially declaring the case closed, LLI eventually reexamined the complaints and concluded that Jackie Robinson West had, in fact, relied on players outside its boundaries. The organization asserted that it did not believe players were complicit in the scheme. The punishment incited an instant outcry in the Chicago area and prompted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to call LLI CEO Stephen D. Keener and request that the organization restore the team s national championship. Jackie Robinson West officials, meanwhile, retained the services of attorney Victor Henderson, who vowed to investigate the situation and determine if LLI s ruling unfairly singles out Jackie Robinson West. On March 3, Henderson asked Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State s Attorney Anita Alvarez to investigate whether Janes illicitly gathered information about where the Jackie Robinson West players lived. Keener has maintained that the decision to strip the team of its championship is final. This is a heartbreaking decision, said Keener. What these players accomplished on the field and the memories and lessons they have learned during the Little League World Series tournament is something the kids can be proud of, but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome, Bill Haley, Jackie Robinson West s team director, stated, Clearly, we have one more battle. Haley added, You were not wrong for sticking with our boys [during the Little League World Series], and you are not wrong for sticking with our boys now. Henderson s independent investigation remains ongoing. -- Fritz Metzinger 7

8 Mother Sues Pop Warner League After Son s Suicide On February 5, 2015, plaintiff Debra Pyka, the mother and special administrator of the estate of Joseph Chernach, filed suit against Pop Warner Little Scholars Inc., The Pop Warner Foundation, and Lexington Insurance Company in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin for wrongful death, negligence, and willful and wanton misconduct in an ultrahazardous activity. Pyka s compliant claims that but for Pop Warner, her son would not have suffered the pain, disability, and despair that led to his eventual suicide. She also claims to have been harmed in her individual capacity, as she had to care for her injured son, and the loss of his society and companionship. The complaint claims Pop Warner, through organizing tackle football for children, is encouraging conduct that is outrageous, malicious, and intentional and is done with the intentional disregard for the children, including her son Joseph Chernach. Chernach started playing Pop Warner football when he was 11 years old from 1997 to Ryka claims that Pop Warner never warned children or parents about the risks of playing tackle football, an activity that is intrinsically dangerous to children. Pyka further claims that as a result of playing Pop Warner, Chernach suffered from the cumulative effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and Post Concussion Syndrome beginning in his sophomore year of college, and these ailments continued to worsen until his suicide in Chernach was 25 years old when he died. Pyka is seeking compensatory damages of at least $5,000,000, survivorship damages for the pain and suffering of Joseph Chernach, and punitive damages such as the court sees fit to grant. I think that somebody should be held accountable for Joseph s death, said Pyka. I want to see tackle football stop for these young kids They should not be banging their brains together. Pyka is represented by Gordon S. Johnson, Jr. of the Brain Injury Law Group, S.C. Pop Warner has not yet made a public statement regarding the case. -- Breard Snellings 8

9 Lance Armstrong to Pay $10 million in Arbitration Loss On February 4, 2015, an arbitration panel consisting of Judge Richard D. Faulkner, Richard Chernick, and Judge Ted Lyon ruled that former cyclist Lance Armstrong and the now-dissolved team management company Tailwind Sports Corp. must pay $10 million to SCA Promotions for past deception regarding doping and his Tour de France wins. The panel held that the public condemnation suffered by Armstrong and Tailwind was justly earned but an inadequate deterrent, and that their deception demands real, meaningful sanctions. The arbitration dispute between Armstrong and SCA began in 2004 when SCA refused to pay Armstrong a $5 million bonus for winning the Tour de France due to allegations of doping. The dispute was heard before the same panel that decided this matter, but the parties settled outside of arbitration in 2006, with SCA giving Armstrong $7.5 million for the bonus and attorney s fees. When Armstrong admitted to doping in 2013, SCA reopened the matter with the arbitration panel, seeking $12 million from Armstrong. Despite Armstrong s objections to the panel s jurisdiction, the 2006 settlement had established that this panel would continue to have exclusive jurisdiction over disputes between the parties on this matter. It is hard to describe how much harm Lance Armstrong s web of lies caused SCA, but this is a good first start toward repairing that damage, SCA president and founder Bob Hamman said. SCA was represented by Jeffery M. Tillotson of Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox in Dallas, Texas. No court or arbitrator has ever reopened a matter which was fully and finally settled voluntarily, Armstrong s lawyer Timothy J. Herman of Howry Breen & Herman in Austin, Texas said. In this matter SCA repeatedly affirmed that it never relied upon anything Armstrong said or did in deciding to settle. -- Spencer Low 9

10 The Sports Lawyers Association Officers President: Glenn M. Wong Secretary: Vered Yakovee Treasurer: Ash Narayan Director of Publications: Gabe Feldman President Elect: Matthew J. Mitten Staff Executive Director: Richard A. Guggolz Deputy Executive Director: William M. Drohan, CAE Program Manager: Melissa Pomerene Administrative Assistant: Colleen MacCutcheon Board of Directors For a full list and biographies of all board members, please visit: You can follow the Sports Lawyers Association on: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn 10

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