U.S. sports law news update: $75 million NCAA concussion settlement approved

Published 05 September 2019 By: Joseph M. Hanna

American Football Player

A short update on two news stories from the United States.

NCAA $75 million settlement gets final approval with $14 million in fees

On August 12, 2019, U.S. District Judge John Lee granted1 final approval to a $75 million settlement and awarded more than $14 million in attorney fees. As we have continued to report2, the suit began in 2011 when former Eastern Illinois football player, Adrian Arrington, and three others, sued the NCAA because they suffered from seizures, which were a by-product of repeated head trauma.

Of the $75 million settlement initially approved by Judge Lee in July 2017, $70 million of the settlement will go to a Medical Monitoring Program, which will help treat and monitor the estimated 4.4 million current and former NCAA student-athletes who took part in contact and non-contact sports. The remaining $5 million will go to concussion research, changes to the NCAA’s guidelines, and a limited release. However, after numerous delays due to issues with notice and the ability of class members to opt-into the settlement, it appears that the case has closed.

The “Greek Freak” freaks over trademark infringement

Giannis Antetokounmpo, a member of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, recently filed a lawsuit3 against Viral Style LLC, a clothing company. According to Antetokounmpo, Viral used the trademarks “Greek Freak” and “Greek Fr34K” without Antetokounmpo’s permission. Antetokounmpo earned the nickname “Greek Freak” and later trademarked the name and an accompanying image related to his nationality, skill, and household notoriety.

The nearly seven-foot-tall Bucks star claims Viral infringed on and counterfeited his trademarks by “designing, selling and distributing various products, including tees, hoodies and T-shirts, under the GREEK FREAK and GREEK FR34K marks brand mark and by using the GREEK FREAK and GREEK FR34K brand as the name of a clothing collection.

Following a cease and desist letter4 sent by Antetokounmpo’s attorneys, Viral has stopped selling the allegedly infringing gear; however, Antetokounmpo is still pursuing the lawsuit seeking “enhanced discretionary damages, treble damages, and/or statutory damages of up to $2,000,000.00 per counterfeit mark per type of goods sold.

This is not the first time that Antetokounmpo has sued to protect his trademark rights and his proud5 nickname. Back in July, Antetokounmpo sued Jinder Bhogal, an artist who also allegedly infringed on Antetokounmpo’s trademark rights when the artist sold merchandise on his website using the phrase “Greek Freak.” The parties recently reached a confidential settlement.

These pieces have been republished. The originals are available to view here and here.

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Author

Joseph M. Hanna

Joseph M. Hanna

Joseph Hanna is a partner of Goldberg Segalla and concentrates his practice in commercial litigation with a focus on sports and entertainment law and retail, hospitality, and development litigation. Joe represents sports franchises, professional athletes, and movie studios with various issues related to licensing, contracts, and day-to-day management. He serves as Chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Law Practice Group and editor of the firm’s Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog. In addition, Joe is the Chair of Goldberg Segalla's Diversity Task Force. He possesses an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
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