Appeals court rejects EA in likeness case
by Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY Sports
A federal appeals court panel on Wednesday rejected video game manufacturer Electronic Arts’ bid to strike a complaint filed by a former Arizona State and Nebraska football player who says EA illegally used his likeness in the NCAA Football game.
By a 2-1 vote, judges for the Ninth Circuit returned the case to a U.S. District Court in Northern California and the same judge who is hearing an anti-trust lawsuit pertaining to the broader use of college athletes’ names and likenesses.
Wednesday’s ruling sets the stage for attorneys representing Sam Keller to seek class certification of their case, which has drawn attention from a wide range of interests in the entertainment and media worlds because in revolves, in part, around whether EA’s product was protected under the First Amendment.
The Ninth Circuit’s ruling comes a little more than two months after the Third Circuit ruled in favor of a former Rutgers football player who has filed a similar suit.