NCAA Athletes Seek Class Certification

A law firm representing former college athletes is asking a court for certification of their class action lawsuits that claims the NCAA tricked them into signing away their rights to profit from their own images being used in video games and other materials. In a 2009 class action lawsuit, former UCLA basketball star Edward O'Bannon claimed that the NCAA "forced" student athletes to sign a "misleading Form 08-3a" if they wanted to play NCAA sports.

The form "commercially exploits former student athletes" by giving the NCAA the right to profit from their images without any type of compensation, even after these athletes have left school, according to the complaint.

The athletes said that the NCAA, Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Co. have violated federal antitrust laws and "conspired to restrain trade by fixing their compensation at $0."

The plaintiffs in this case are asking the court to certify two classes: a "declaratory and injunctive relief" class of former NCAA basketball or football players whose images were used even after they had stopped playing college sports, and an "antitrust damages" class whose images had been licensed or sold. The "antitrust damages plaintiffs" are asking that the NCAA disclose its revenue data from its members for a calculation of damages.

The NCAA is claiming that the information they seek is "privileged and not relevant."

Attorney Michael Lehmann of Hausfeld LLP (San Francisco), who represents the athletes, claims that they have proven that their claims meet the criteria for certification. Lehmann also asked that his firm be appointed as class counsel. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken will rule on the latest motion on March 7, 2013.

You can read the latest filing here (PDF).

Source: Courthouse News

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