Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

July 9 roundup

  • Judge Ramos disallows settlement of Citigroup directors derivative suit: deal had met defendants’ needs, plaintiff’s lawyers’ too, but not shareholders’ [PDF of decision courtesy NY Lawyer]

  • Drove a golf cart into the path of his car as it was being repossessed, jury decides he deserves $56,837 [MC Record]

  • Per ACOG, 92 percent of NY ob/gyns say they’ve been sued at least once [NY Post edit; more]

  • New British online-gambling law could trip up some virtual-world/massively multiplayer online games []

  • Good news for bloggers: Iowa-based site can’t be sued in New York just because it answered questions from NY reader and accepted NY donations [Best Van Lines v. Walker, Second Circuit; McLaughlin]

  • Another great idea from Public Citizen: let’s not use new drugs till they’ve been on the market for seven years [Pharmalot via KevinMD]

  • After conviction of Mississippi trial lawyer Paul Minor in judicial corruption scandal, squabbling drags on over sentencing [Jackson Clarion-Ledger]

  • Conservative public interest law firms “can win some big cases [but] are notorious for lacking follow-through” [Tushnet, L.A. Times]

  • Contestants in Australian business dispute probably wound up spending more on the litigation than had been at stake in the first place [Sydney Morning Herald]

  • New at Point of Law: New Hampshire governor vetoes trial lawyers’ bill; global warming litigation to be bigger than tobacco?; the Times notices HIPAA;

  • It’s my emotional-support dog, and my lawyer says you have to let it into your store [eight years ago on Overlawyered, before these stories started getting common]

NBA Games Soon to Be Settled Via Lawsuit

A “slam dunk” story for the day after the NBA Draft:

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban isn’t shy about using multiple avenues to promote himself and his team. In what is likely an attempt to keep his name in the news, Cuban is suing Golden State Warriors head coach Don Nelson, who used to coach the Mavericks, for knowing the Mavericks personnel a little too well. This “inside” knowledge, claims Cuban, helped the eighth-seeded Warriors beat the #1 seed Mavericks in the first round of the NBA playoffs this year.

From the story:

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes Golden State’s sizzling shooting alone didn’t sink his basketball team in the most stunning playoff defeat in NBA history.

That’s according to Don Nelson’s attorney, John O’Connor, who said Cuban is suing Nelson, claiming the Warriors beat the Mavs in the first round because the Warriors’ coach — and former coach of the Mavs — had “confidential information and he [Cuban] wants to enjoin Don from coaching against the Mavericks.”…

According to the story, when Nelson left the Mavericks, he signed a “non-compete” agreement with Cuban, which Nelson claims ended when he took the job with Golden State. Cuban contends that this agreement is still in effect, which should prohibit Nelson from being able to coach another team.

I’ve often wondered how this actually affects sports teams – for instance, when a baseball player is traded mid-season to a competitor. Does it do his new team any good to have his inside knowledge of how the other team works? Isn’t it an advantage to know all the signals and shifts the other team can make, not to mention the personnel tendencies?

It’s still up in the air, however, which is a more embarrassing move for a franchise: Cuban’s lawsuit, or drafting a Chinese guy who may be lying about his age, refuses to work out against a human being, and has the Chinese government saying he will never play for your team. But I’m not bitter.

June 8 roundup

  • Litigation as foreign policy? Bill authorizing U.S. government to sue OPEC passes House, and is already contributing to friction with Russia [AP; Reuters; Steffy, Houston Chronicle; earlier here, here, and here]

  • Albany prosecutors charge boxing champion’s family with staging 23 car crashes, but a jury acquits [Obscure Store; Times-Union; North Country Gazette]

  • New at Point of Law: Bill Lerach may retire; Abe Lincoln’s legal practice; Philip Howard on getting weak cases thrown out; “Year of the Trial Lawyer” in Colorado; and much more;

  • Multiple partygoers bouncing on a trampoline not an “open and obvious” risk, says Ohio appeals court approving suit [Wilmington News-Journal]

  • Skadden and its allies were said to be representing Chinatown restaurant workers pro bono — then came the successful $1 million fee request, bigger than the damages themselves [NYLJ]

  • Who will cure the epidemic of public health meddling? [Sullum, Reason]

  • Turn those credit slips into gold, cont’d: lawsuits burgeon over retail receipts that print out too much data [NJLJ; earlier]

  • Lawprof Howard Wasserman has further discussion of the Josh Hancock case (Cardinals baseball player crashes while speeding, drunk and using cellphone) [Sports Law Blog; earlier]

  • “Women prisoners in a Swedish jail are demanding the ‘human right’ to wear bikinis so they can get a decent tan.” [Telegraph, U.K.]

  • Disbarred Miami lawyer Louis Robles, who prosecutors say stole at least $13 million from clients, detained as flight risk after mysterious “Ms. Wiki” informs [DBR; earlier at PoL]

  • Indiana courts reject motorist’s claim that Cingular should pay for crash because its customer was talking on cellphone while driving [three years ago on Overlawyered]

Take me out to the courtroom: Hancock’s death everyone’s fault

Score another one for personal responsibility: 29-year old St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock killed himself in April when he drove — faster than the speed limit, drunk, on a cell phone, and not wearing a seat belt — into a tow truck stopped on the side of a road. Obviously, we ought to blame… everyone except Josh Hancock for this. Three and a half weeks after the accident, his father has filed suit in St. Louis against: the restaurant where Hancock was drinking, the manager of the restaurant, the tow truck driver, the towing company, and (!) the driver of the stalled vehicle that the tow truck was assisting, for having the temerity to get his car stuck on the side of the road.

So far, he hasn’t sued the Cardinals or Major League Baseball, but, while praising the team, his lawyer pointedly refused to rule out suing them.

Clearly, his father’s attorney isn’t all that creative; think of all the other people responsible for this accident:

  • The cell phone manufacturer; Hancock couldn’t have been talking on the phone if they hadn’t been so negligent as to invent it, or if they had placed warnings on the side of the phone about not using it while driving.
  • Hancock’s girlfriend — she was on the other end of the phone. Plus, he was driving to meet her.
  • The owners of the bar he was driving to in order to meet his girlfriend. If they had been closed, he wouldn’t have been driving there; if they were easier to find, he wouldn’t have had to give his girlfriend directions.
  • The car rental company; Hancock was driving a rented SUV… because he had just had an accident in his own car. If they hadn’t rented him the SUV, he couldn’t have been driving it.
  • Anheuser-Busch, it goes without saying; no alcohol, no accident.
  • The Cardinals, for not trading him to another team; if he hadn’t been in St. Louis, he couldn’t have crashed.

While it’s hardly unusual nowadays to blame bars for injuries caused by serving drunk patrons, those suits typically involve injuries to third parties. It’s not clear to me from a quick perusal of Missouri statutes that the bar can be liable for injuries caused to the drinker himself, but the key may be in this sentence from the Post-Dispatch story, quoting the complaint filed: “The intoxication of Joshua Morgan Hancock on said occasion was involuntary.” Yes, they forced the alcohol down his throat.

I wonder if the tow truck company will countersue for the damages Hancock caused to their truck by crashing into it. That would be poetic justice, at least.

Update: KMOV has a copy of the complaint. (PDF)

Charge: Little League didn’t teach base-sliding

On Staten Island, New York, “Jean Gonzalez is suing a beloved veteran coach for not teaching her son Martin how to slide properly”. The boy, 12 at the time, was hurt sliding into second base. Coach Leigh Bernstein, along with “the New Springville Little League, and its international umbrella organization, Little League Baseball and Softball Inc., are all named as defendants in the suit, which charges them with never teaching him ‘skills needed to avoid and/or minimize the risks of injury,’ specifically how to run bases and slide.” (James Fanelli and Mike Scholl, “Base Accusation”, New York Post, May 20).

To the Moon, Alice

Great moments in school discipline, Clearwater, Florida, edition:

I don’t know if I can possibly do justice to this story. In February, an 18-year old Florida high school senior named Tyler Tillung was upset at his teacher because she wouldn’t let him into the auditorium to see the high school talent show (the “annual Lip Sync show,” so perhaps “talent” is an overstatement) because the auditorium was full. So… no, I don’t think I can type this without laughing, so I’ll just cut and paste from the story:

After she declined, he mooned the teacher. The lawsuit concedes that he made the act worse “by spreading his buttocks for an instant.”

Yes, you read that right. The word “lawsuit” was in there. Tillung proceeded to metaphorically moon the rest of us by following this up with a lawsuit. For some inexplicable reason, the school decided to punish him for what he calls a “childish joke.” They suspended him for six days, and then transferred him to a school across town. So of course he’s suing.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court alleges the transfer was unreasonably harsh because it denies him the once-in-a-lifetime chance to graduate next month with his class, participate in senior activities leading up to graduation and play his final season on Palm Harbor’s varsity baseball team.

But don’t worry: we have it on good authority (from Tillung’s lawyer) that the lawsuit has merit:

To those who say the family is taking the issue too far, Tillung’s lawyer, B. Edwin Johnson, said “they don’t know the facts.” He added: “We’re talking about his graduation. That’s an important event in a guy’s life. … This kid deserves a break.”

As do the rest of us. And especially Clearwater taxpayers.

(Some of you kind-hearted folks may be tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt. You may think that while it’s frivolous to argue that the chance to graduate with one’s friends is an injury which the courts should consider, the chance to play with his team is more important, because it could affect his college chances. Don’t think that. First, he already has his acceptance. Second, there are only six games left on the school’s schedule, all but the last within the next two weeks; he wouldn’t get back on the team in time even if he won.)


Follow-ups to some stories I’ve posted in the last few weeks:

  • Last month we reported on the lawsuit against Cory Lidle, alleging that he piloted his plane into someone’s apartment building in the crash which killed him last October. Now Lidle’s widow is suing MetLife, baseball’s insurer, for denying her payment under its accidental death benefit coverage. The policy had an exclusion for accidents in which players are piloting airplanes; Lidle’s widow is denying that Lidle was the pilot. In case you’re counting, that’s at least three lawsuits over this accident, despite the fact that the NTSB still hasn’t made any final determinations about the crash. (And I assume that we’ll see more from other residents of the apartment building.)
  • In February we discussed a ruling in the lawsuit against New York City over the Staten Island Ferry crash; at the time, the lawyers for the plaintiffs convinced a judge not to cap the damages the plaintiffs could recover from the city. The lead attorneys were so proud of their work that they felt they deserved a bonus; now they’re asking the court to cut other law firms’ fees so they can receive it. And they’re bickering over the request:

    “They didn’t do anything to help us,” said Michael H. Bush of the New Dorp firm of Chelli & Bush. “They never updated us with anything. We never got a phone call. We never got e-mails. We settled all of our cases prior to the motion being settled, and they just did nothing to help.”

    “They’re motivated by their own interests,” he continued. “They’re getting the publicity and they have their own million-dollar cases, too.”


    Chelli & Bush didn’t attend any of “15 meetings” with the firms involved, nor did they show up for any of the court dates during the trial, Bisignano contended.

    “They contributed nothing, and yet they claim there was no benefit to them,” Bisignano said. “No honorable law firm would deny our right to be compensated for the services we performed that benefited every law firm and every complainant in this case.”

    Children, play nice.

  • Findlaw columnist Julie Hilden discussing Carol Burnett’s chances in suing Family Guy.

A Bronx tale?

Definition of mixed emotions: a New York Yankee being sued. (I’m not a fan of either.) Last week it was Cory Lidle’s family being sued (and suing) over his fatal airplane crash; this one is slightly less serious. Last August, while Carl Pavano was pitching in the minor leagues, he got involved in a car accident in Florida. His car allegedly skidded on wet road, and slid into a vehicle stopped at a stop sign. So, obviously, this is the fault of… the New York Yankees. We know, because Ernest DeLaura, the driver of the other vehicle, filed a lawsuit in January naming both Pavano and the Yankees as defendants.

(Somehow, despite the fact that DeLaura was in a tractor trailer and Pavano was in a car, DeLaura claims he sustained “severe and permanent personal injuries,” while Pavano is healthy enough to play in the major leagues.)

Oddly, DeLaura filed the lawsuit in the Bronx, even though he’s a resident of Florida and the accident occurred in Florida; it’s not clear whether this has to do with the Bronx’s pro-plaintiff reputation or the inability of DeLaura to gain jurisdiction over the Yankees in Florida.

Defensive banking

With the great work David Nieporent has been doing guest-blogging, I rushed back early before I got Wally Pipped.

An op-ed in the Arab American News by Ihsan Alkhatib suggests that banks are closing accounts with people who do business with Saudis; the “know your customer” requirements and fear of liability for being associated with terrorists make the costs of keeping those accounts open prohibitive. Alkhatib cites my Wall Street Journal op-ed on the subject. (“Banks, civil rights groups and community members should lobby together for change in terror laws”, Mar. 3).

NB Alkhatib’s conclusion “In protecting the banks from frivolous lawsuits, we preserve the civil rights of Arab Americans and American Muslims.” Alkhatib is plainly using “frivolous” in the common sense of “silly or socially counterproductive,” further evidence of my contention that litigation lobby defenders confuse the subject when they pretend that laypeople are using the term “frivolous lawsuits” in the narrow technical legal sense, since the lawsuits in question are not “frivolous” in that narrow technical legal sense because of the willingness of judges to treat them seriously.