As we were saying: “colleges, high schools and club teams may be forced to consider severe measures in the face of liability issues, like raising fees to offset higher premiums; capping potential damages; and requiring players to sign away their right to sue coaches and schools. Some schools and leagues may even shut down teams because the expense and legal risk are too high.” [New York Times, also describing a coverage battle between the NFL and its insurers]
A former Houston Texans punter “alleges that [Reliant] Stadium’s practice of piecing together 1,200, 8?x8? palettes of grass prior to every home game creates an ‘unsafe turf’ condition,” resulting in a torn ligament and bone fracture. At Abnormal Use, Nick Farr says we haven’t heard a whole lot about turf seams as a playing field hazard up to now, and notes that the player in question may have had some other difficulties going on with his career aside from this “career-threatening injury.”
Helmet-manufacturer Riddell may have beaten the rap concerning a 2006 injury to a ninth-grader who suffered a stroke at football practice, but many other lawsuits against helmet manufacturers continue to loom on the horizon. [Insurance Journal]
Thursday was one of the strangest days in Ohio high school football history. Not a single down was played and it ended in total confusion…. The Ohio Supreme Court might have the final word….
Edgewood Superintendent Joe Spiccia said the plan Thursday night was to create a conflicting court order, which it did. … [OHSAA spokesman Tim Stried] said neither game will be played until the case is resolved by another court because if either game took place, it would be violating one of the two court orders.
“A New Orleans Saints fan named David Mancina has filed a putative class action against Roger Goodell and the NFL, alleging that Goodell and the league’s suspension of Saints players entitles Mancina and other Saints fans to damages from (I am not making this up) ‘the diminishment in the value of their tickets; their personal emotional reaction to the unwarranted penalties inflicted on their beloved team, players, coaches, and executives; and the deliberate reduction of the competitive capability of the Saints due to the selective gutting of the critical components needed to justify the loyalty of Plaintiff and the class.'” [Howard Wasserman, Prawfs, who does not think much of the suit, headlining it “Today in Sanctionable Lawsuits”]
I’ve got a post at Maryland for All Families following up on the free-speech controversy that flared up when Del. Emmett Burns, a Democratic lawmaker in Annapolis, wrote to the owner of the Baltimore Ravens demanding he silence linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a vocal advocate of same-sex marriage (earlier). Discussion elsewhere: Rob Tisinai/Box Turtle Bulletin, Amy Alkon, Howard Wasserman/Prawfs, BaltimoreRavens.com (team’s front office supports Ayanbadejo), David Frum, and a First Amendment analysis from Hans Bader.
Update: Amid widespread public support for Ayanbadejo, Del. Burns has now backed off his attempt to muzzle the linebacker [Baltimore Sun] Did any prominent critics of same-sex marriage speak up in favor of the Ravens linebacker’s free speech? If not, they missed an opportunity to underline the principled nature of their oft-voiced concern that those on the “wrong” side of the marriage issue will face official retaliation.
Steve Chapman at the Chicago Tribune looks at the cultural and legal responses to the mounting evidence that professional football inflicts brain damage on many of its players. He quotes my view that if the litigation system carries over to football the legal principles it applies to other industries, the game isn’t likely to survive in its current form.
More, Coyote: “And don’t think the NFL does not know this. If you are wondering why they handed out insanely over-the-top penalties for bounty-gate in New Orleans, this is why. They are working to establish a paper trail of extreme diligence on player safety issues for future litigation.” And: Saving Sports (adding Title IX angle).
Wow. Del. Emmett Burns (D-Baltimore County), an opponent of same-sex marriage, fired off a letter to the owner [PDF] of the Baltimore Ravens on legislative stationery demanding that he silence Brendon Ayanbadejo, an outspoken marriage advocate. Pretty much every conservative commentator in America (properly) denounced the Boston mayor and Chicago alderman for menacing Chick-Fil-A. I hope some of them will speak up against this abuse of government office as well. [NBC Sports Pro Football Talk]
More, Eugene Volokh finds it “a pretty inappropriate thing for a legislator, speaking in a way that stresses his role as legislator, to say to a private employer. There is no express threat of retaliation here, but such letters to private businesspeople — who often have to deal with legislature on various regulatory issues — tend to carry something of an implied threat, especially when they stress the author’s legislative position.” Note also that what Burns is “requesting” in his letter is accompanied by a peremptory demand for an “immediate response.” And update: following an outcry in which the public overwhelmingly took the player’s side, Del. Burns has backed down.
A Texas woman “is suing the Cowboys and team owner Jerry Jones for the third-degree burns she suffered on her buttocks after sitting on a black, marble bench at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium two years ago while waiting for the debut Blue & Silver scrimmage.” Her lawyer says she was burned through her clothing and required skin grafts: “I’m surprised there aren’t more reports of burn injuries from sitting on those dark, black benches.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, CBS D-FW]
- $250,000+ payout for cardiac arrest at age 92? Stupendous giveaway for uniformed public employees is sailing through California legislature [Sacramento Bee via Hillel Aron]
- Those confidential workplace investigations won’t be so confidential any more if NLRB gets its way [Jon Hyman, Daniel Schwartz] And the EEOC too? [Hyman, Shannon Green/Corporate Counsel]
- Myths of the “pay gap” [Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg]
- Federal bailout of state pension funds? Don’t let it happen [Fergus Hodgson, John Locke]
- Former Indianapolis Colts cheerleader loses suit over nude body-paint photos [Staci Zaretsky, Above the Law, earlier]
- Some small businesses hope to dodge the employer mandate by getting below 50 employees [CNN]
- Obama names partner at class action powerhouse Cohen Milstein to EEOC vacancy [White House]