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Deal in EA likeness lawsuits triggers dispute
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On October 5, 2013 @ 4:38 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY Sports
The proposed settlement of lawsuits against video game manufacturer Electronic Arts concerning the use of college athletes names and likenesses has triggered a dispute between former Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart – one of the cases’ most prominent litigants – and lawyers who had been representing him.
It is unclear whether the dispute will impact the settlement, but lawyers who had been representing Hart and were involved in the proposed settlement gave notice to a federal district court in New Jersey on Friday night that they want to replace Hart as the named plaintiff in his case so they can keep the settlement process moving.
Saturday morning, Keith McKenna – an attorney involved with the initial filing of Hart’s suit in 2009, but later replaced – told USA TODAY Sports that Hart again has retained him to take over his case against EA. McKenna said Hart will oppose the moves being made against him. However, McKenna declined to provide specifics about Hart’s unhappiness with the lawyers involved with the settlement, saying they will be addressed in an upcoming court filing.
Michael Hausfeld, who has been involved with a case against EA primarily on behalf of plaintiffs led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon, has confirmed a report made first by The New York Times that EA and the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing firm, Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC), have agreed to pay $40 million under an arrangement that – if approved by various courts – will conclude Hart’s case and two others against EA and would end both companies’ role in a related case that will continue with the NCAA as the sole defendant.
In the Friday night filing, the lawyers who had been representing Hart wrote that since shortly after the proposed settlement was announced a little more than a week ago, Hart “has chosen not to communicate” with them. Instead, they wrote, Hart “has communicated information … through his father-in-law indicating that Hart’s narrow personal interests now conflict with the absent class members and that he no longer adequately represents the class as a whole.”
Hart’s father-in-law – who goes unnamed in the … [For more on Deal in EA name-and-likeness lawsuits triggers dispute, click here.]
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