Tag Archives: labor

NFL Agent Anthony Caruso Authors Sports Concussions Article

Anthony R. Caruso, Esq., sports attorney and NFL Agent, has announced the publication of his legal research and analysis on current issues involving sports concussions.

Entitled “Collegiate Collisions on the Field and in the Courtroom: Will Labor Peace Save Student-Athletes from Further Injury? the article appears in the Journal of Business and Technology Law of the University of Maryland School of Law. The article is the culmination of legal research and analysis of the ever-evolving topic of concussions in light of recent developments with the NCAA.Scarinci Hollenbeck NFL Agent Anthony Caruso

“Concussion-related topics are at the forefront of all discussions involving contact sports, and rightfully so,” said Caruso. “For too long, this topic has been side-stepped as a necessary evil for the participation of the athlete. Medical research now clearly obviates any further attempts to ignore the significance and full understanding of this dangerous condition.”

The research article is “a detailed and convincing argument for the advancement of education, treatment and prevention of concussions without dismantling the intricate framework of the student athlete as currently existing,” according to Caruso.

“This issue needs to be resolved in a thoughtful and well-conceived manner by all parties involved, rather than in a fragmented and incongruent fashion by various courts throughout the nation,” he added.  “Those involved with college and pro sports at various levels have been aware of concussions for quite some time, but have yet to seriously address the inherently competing issues until very recently. We need to keep the momentum moving forward in favor of the player, particularly the student-athlete.”

Launched in the fall of 2005, the Journal of Business & Technology Law has provided a publication venue for the latest thinking on business and technology issues. As the first publication to examine these issues together, the Journal seeks to add an important voice to the nation’s legal scholarship. The publication can be found using the following link: http://digitalcommons.law.umaryland.edu/jbtl/

As a prominent sports, media, and entertainment attorney based in the New York City / New Jersey area, Caruso has significant experience in negotiating complex transactions relevant to the professional athlete and served as an NFL Agent for several pro players from 1994 to 2000. “I enjoyed protecting the interests of the professional athlete both on and off the field,” says Caruso. He has now returned to the role of NFL agent and has several players under his representation.

In addition to being a sports entertainment attorney and NFL agent, Caruso teaches sports related courses as an adjunct professor at NYU. He also previously founded and served as legal counsel to a new sports league, where he later became the commissioner.

Caruso can be followed on his blog, www.sportsentertainmentattorney.com or at his Twitter, @njnymedialaw and @arcaruso.

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Players Unions Send Memo Hoping to Thwart Today’s Passage of California Workers Comp Bill 1309

The players unions for professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer have sent a memo to California lawmakers, urging them to vote no on a workers compensation bill that would gut that state’s unique law, which protects professional athletes on teams in that state as well as those who work for teams in other states, but compete in California.

A change in the law could dramatically affect any concussion-related benefits that pro athletes may receive.

The memo, which is signed by the heads of each union, follows:

We are writing to you as the Executive Directors of our respective Players Associations–the (NFLPA), (WNBPA), (NBPA), (MLBPA), (NHLPA), (PHPA), and the (MLSPU)–to express our firm and unanimous opposition to current efforts by pro sports teams and leagues to limit or eliminate workers compensation benefits for our members in California.

AB 1309 ignores the fact that all workers compensation costs for most professional athletes, other than Major League Baseball, are paid out of the athletes side of the salary cap. As part of the collective bargaining process, athletes agreed to have less money available for salaries in order to ensure that they will have workers compensation benefits.

The only cost to California is a relatively small amount from the California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) fund. Apparently, the cost to the CIGA fund for professional athletes is $4 million annually. Our players have agreed to work with Assembly member Perea to fix the asserted CIGA problem by changing the statute to no longer allow out-of-state professional teams were there players to have access to CIGA coverage. Assembly member Perea has chosen not to take the CIGA language.

And the proponents fail to mention that out-of-state athletes pay California personal income taxes on a formula that resulted in California receiving $161 million in 2010 and that is expected to be about $300 million in revenue to California in 2013.

Another glaring inequity of AB 1309 is the retroactive application of this bill. As written, this bill would apply to all pending claims; even claims that have been fully litigated and are awaiting decision, discriminating against a single class of injured workers. Thousands of injured players whose cases are in suit would be left without remedy. To use an ex post facto law to deprive people of their rights is wrong.

The proponents of the bill commissioned a study by the Milliman firm. This study expressly states that it is based upon unverifiable information, lack of information, and that if additional information became available the results could vary. In other words, it is unreliable.

Finally, the author amended the so-called “Joe Montana rule”, but adopted language that would say that a player who played most of his career in California still would not be eligible to file a workers compensation claim in this state if they did not play eight years or 80% of their career with one California team. This language sets a very unrealistic bar for most professional athletes to reach as the average professional athlete plays less than five years.

Again, we would like to restate that other than the CIGA costs mentioned above, out-of-state professional athletes filing claims in California have no financial impact on the employers or the taxpayers of the state. We, the undersigned union leaders overwhelmingly agree that no costs for our player’s workers compensation coverage should be paid for by anyone other than the leagues of our respective sports.

If you have any questions, please contact Aaron Read, Randy Perry or Terry McHale at (916) 448-3444.

(Editor’s Note: The actual text of the bill can be found here: http://bit.ly/ZBO60d )

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Players Respond to NFL’s Motion to Dismiss, Take Aim at CBA Argument

The plaintiffs in the NFL concussion lawsuit took direct aim yesterday at the NFL’s contention that their claim is a labor issue that should be governed by the sport’s collective bargaining agreement, rather than the legal system.

The plaintiffs were responding in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to the NFL’s recent motion to dismiss.

The NFL had argued in August that the CBA covers safety and health rules, leaving individual teams and their doctors to decide about players’ conditions and when they should return to play.

The players countered Wednesday that “a party cannot shirk its own duty by pointing to the duties of others.” Further, “the NFL deceived club doctors (and players) by insisting repeatedly that head trauma carried little long-term risk for football players.”

Attorneys for the players elaborated on the last point, writing that “the NFL knew that players were exposed to risks of severe neurological injuries yet did nothing to prevent them. The NFL failed to warn players about the dangers of concussive and sub-concussive impacts.”

They did not mince words when putting the concussion problem in context—“On the NFL’s watch, football has become the site of perhaps the gravest health crisis in the history of sports.”

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