TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

NFL Admits Link Between Football and CTE

In a Congressional round table on Monday, Jeff Miller, the NFL's senior vice president of health and safety, admitted there is a link between football and CTE.  The liability ramifications are significant.  USA Today has the story.

March 16, 2016 in Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Erichson on the NFL Concussion Settlement

Over at Mass Tort Profs, Howie Erichson (Fordham) analyzes the NFL concussion settlement.  He's not in favor:

We have grown so accustomed to "settlement class actions" that we have lost sight of what is strange and troubling about them. Class actions serve an essential function in our legal system by empowering claimants in mass disputes, and I reject the knee-jerk criticisms of class actions that I  hear too often. But when the class action tool is exploited by defendants to buy peace on the cheap, and when class members are harmed by the alignment of interests between defendants and class counsel, I feel the need to speak up.

Read the full piece here.

November 25, 2014 in Sports, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Coomer v. Kansas City Royals Decided

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued an opinion in Coomer, the case of the fan injured by a flying hot dog.  The court ruled that getting hit with a hot dog is not an inherent risk of baseball and the trial judge should not have allowed an assumption of risk instruction.  The opinion is here.  Alberto Bernabe, who has followed the case, has comments here.  Michael McCann wrote a guest post for TortsProf in 2010 that foreshadowed the holding.


June 27, 2014 in Food and Drink, Guest Blogger, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Fore!" - Golfer Liability in New Jersey

A New Jersey Superior Court reaffirmed that only the golfer taking the shot is legally responsibile for yelling "fore" for an errant shot.  In Corino v. Duffy, the court held that two bystanders - friends of the golfer hitting the ball and part of the threesome - were not liable  for the golfer's shot striking the plaintiff in the right eye.  A copy of the decision is available here.  The Legal Blitz has more on the decision.


December 11, 2013 in Current Affairs, Sports, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Culhane on Coomer

John Culhane has a piece at Slate on Coomer v. Kansas City Royals (the hot-dog-toss case) here.


November 22, 2013 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Culhane on Concussions as a Public Health Problem

John Culhane (Widener) has posted his contribution to the FIU symposium on concussions to SSRN.  Entitled Not Just the NFL:  Compensation, Litigation, and Public Health in Concussion Cases, the abstract provides:


This article examines the recent attention given to traumatic head injury in the National Football League from a public health perspective. It notes that injuries are prevalent in many sports (not just football), and argues that the goal should be to design interventions that reduce the incidence and severity of such injuries. The article explores and evaluates some of the measures that have been taken throughout football (from the NFL down through youth leagues) to make the sport safer, and notes how these steps also affect other sports and injuries to other parts of the body. Since football and other dangerous sports are unlikely to be eliminated, harm reduction should be the goal. Taken together, these measures
are likely to be successful by that measure.

The article concludes with some observations about the use and limitations of tort claims and compensation funds to redress the harms caused by participation in dangerous sports such as football.


May 21, 2013 in Scholarship, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Scheuerman on Class Certification in NFL Concussion Litigation

TortsProf's Sheila Scheuerman has posted to SSRN The NFL Concussion Litigation:  A Critical Assessment of Class Certification.  The abstract provides:

In the world of high-stakes class action litigation, a new theory is emerging that seeks to overcome the longstanding hurdles that have precluded certification of personal injury class actions: the "medical monitoring" class action. A recent example is the concussion-related lawsuits brought by former football players against the National Football League. The players allege that the NFL concealed the long term effects of on-field head injury, and failed to warn players of the risks of harm from repeated concussions. The players only seek class certification on a medical monitoring claim — a tort that may allow asymptomatic plaintiffs to recover anticipated medical testing. Like the putative personal injury class or no-injury class, however, aggregation of medical monitoring claims presents its own individual issues that preclude class certification under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

This symposium essay examines the class certification issues presented by the "NFL concussion" litigation. The essay presents the history and status of this litigation, provides an overview of concussion science, and examines the players’ claims against current standards for class certification. The essay concludes that the players’ medical monitoring claim as currently pled fails to satisfy the criteria for class certification. This does not mean that these plaintiffs have no redress against the NFL. It means only that the NFL players need to employ the traditional personal injury lawsuit — not the class action device — to pursue their relief.


May 16, 2013 in Scholarship, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rapp on NFL Concussions

Geoff Rapp (Toledo) has posted to SSRN his contribution to Howard Wasserman's symposium, Suicide, Concussions, and the NFL.  The abstract provides:

This contribution to a FIU Law Review symposium on concussions in the NFL explores the state of the science and the possibility that the family of a former NFL player could recover from the NFL in the event that the former player committed suicide. While the link between brain injury, depression and suicide is both logical and supported by some emerging science, the paper suggests that significant legal obstacles would confront any such claim.


March 27, 2013 in Conferences, Scholarship, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Culhane on the NASCAR Debris Cloud

John Culhane (Widener) has a piece in Slate about spectators injured by by flying objects, with a focus on last month's NASCAR crash.


March 6, 2013 in Scholarship, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Idaho Declines to Adopt Baseball Rule

In an interlocutory appeal, the Idaho Supreme Court declined to adopt the "baseball rule," limiting a stadium operator's liability for foul balls.  The case, Rountree v. Boise Ball (pdf), involved a Boise Hawks minor league game.  Bud Rountree was hit in the eye by a foul ball, and sued the stadium owners and the Boise Hawks for negligence.   On interlocutory appeal, the Idaho Supreme Court held that "[w]hether watching baseball is inherently dangerous, and the degrees of fault to be apportioned to Rountree and Boise Baseball, are questions for the jury."   A Retuers report has more.


March 5, 2013 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

MD: Pro Football Injury Covered by Workers' Comp

George Conk at TortsToday has the story.


August 25, 2012 in Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Magliocca on the NFL Concussion Suit

Over at CoOp, Gerard Magliocca examines the suit against the NFL.


May 17, 2012 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NFL Concussion Website

A 3L at UMKC, Paul Anderson, is running a website devoted to concussion-related suits against the NFL and helmet manufacturers.  Entitled NFL Concussion Litigation, it can be accessed here.

Thanks to Alex Long for the tip.


April 11, 2012 in Current Affairs, Sports, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Penn State

Here in central Pennsylvania it's all Penn State, all the time.  Donald Gilliland of the (Harrisburg) Patriot-News wrote a column about the school's potential legal troubles.  I'm quoted mostly for an evidentiary point, but the civil angle is covered by others.

Other coverage is here:  Turkewitz, Max Kennerly from The Beasley Firm offers a PA-specific analysis.

Updated:  Alberto Bernabe has links and analysis here.


November 13, 2011 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Culhane on the NFL Concussion Suit

My Widener colleague John Culhane has published his analysis of the NFL concussion suit, "Concussions and Cigarettes," in Slate.


July 29, 2011 in Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

NFL Players Suing Over Head Injuries

The WSJ Law Blog has the details of the suit, which names both the league itself and helmet maker Riddell.


July 21, 2011 in Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

NY: Golfer Not Liable for Failure to Yell "Fore"

The New York Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Division's dismissal of a golfer's tort action based on his golfing partner's failure to warn of an impending swing of the club:

"The manner in which Anand was injured — being hit without warning by a ’shanked’ shot while one searches for one’s own ball — reflects a commonly appreciated risk of golf,” the judges wrote.

The (short) opinion is here.  WSJ Blog coverage is here.







December 23, 2010 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Teaching Torts with Sports

Adam Epstein (Central Michigan College of Business) has posted to SSRN Teaching Torts with Sports.  The abstract provides:

The purpose of this paper is to offer a pedagogical road map for an alternative way to engage students when arriving at the torts portion of the business law or legal environment course. It is designed to encourage utilizing sports cases and sport-related videos when teaching torts which can be effective and energizing. My research demonstrates that the prominence of sports related tort cases and examples are much more apparent in the negligence and intentional tort categories than in products liability or strict liability. More specifically, an effective way to relate the concept of negligence in sports is in the context of flying objects such as foul balls, bats, and hockey pucks. Incorporating intentional torts and sports usually begins with hits after the play, a pitcher intentionally hitting the batter, and the incidents of violence involving participants, fans, referees, coaches and parents. One of the best examples of products liability is the safety debate between using wooden baseball bats in professional baseball and the metal or aluminum bats in college baseball. Strict liability involving ultra-hazardous activities has its place for discussion in sports torts, but the breadth of litigation on the subject is clearly the least common of the four major tort categories rendering it virtually non-existent. Instructors are given hints as to how to engage students with sports torts regardless of their educational generation. Contemporary and classic cases are provided as examples.


September 30, 2010 in Sports, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The "Most-Sued Mascot in Sports" is Sued Again

The Phillie Phanatic, named by Bob Jarvis (Nova Southeastern) as the "most-sued mascot in sports," is adding to his tally.  His latest round of litigation was brought by a woman claiming the Phanatic injured her knees when he climbed through the stands at a 2008 game in Reading, PA (home of the Phillies AA minor league club).  Coverage is here:; ABA Journal.


July 1, 2010 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)