Class Actions on the Field and the Ice

College sports fans have likely been following the class action litigation taking place in the Northern District of California, where Judge Wilken held that the NCAA’s limit on athlete compensation unreasonably restrains trade. Although the action did not include financial damages, Judge Wilken held in her opinion that the plaintiff athletes could recover their costs from the NCAA. The plaintiffs have taken her up on that and now seek $50.2 million in attorneys’ fees and court costs for the several years of litigation it took to see their interests vindicated. The NCAA opposed the plaintiffs’ request and has until December 23 to file a response. It will be interesting to see where the award lands.

Beyond antitrust litigation, concussion litigation continues to grab headlines. These are some of the examples of significant class action news in sports:

  • Although the NCAA recently reached a $75 million settlement with former athletes in litigation involving a head injury, the district judge overseeing the case had serious doubts about the validity of the settlement.
  • Following in the footsteps of the NFL, NHL players have recently filed their own class action suit regarding concussion-related injuries.
  • A former University of Texas football player has filed his own class action suit — for $50 million — against the NCAA based on his early onset Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.

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