O’Bannon case takes new, contentious turns
by Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY Sports
An anti-trust lawsuit pertaining to the use of college athletes’ name and likenesses took several twists Thursday, raising the prospects of a federal judge giving special handling to a hearing next week, documents now under seal being openly referenced during that hearing and, or the public being barred from part of the session.
Lawyers for the NCAA and its co-defendants asked U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken to grant special, stand-alone scheduling consideration to next week’s hearing on whether the case should be certified as a class action, and to set an entirely new schedule for the case following the hearing.
Meanwhile, lawyers for the plaintiffs indicated that during the hearing, they are likely to refer to documents submitted by the defendants that so far have remained sealed. Recognizing the defendants’ opposition to that prospect, they proposed that a portion of the normally open hearing be closed to the public.
At present, the case’s overall schedule lists a sequence of events that would culminate in a trial beginning early in June 2014.
But in a case management statement comprising requests and arguments from both sides about the ground rules for next week’s hearing and a handful of other pending matters, the defendants asked that either a revised schedule be negotiated or that Wilken make a series of adjustments that would delay the trial’s start by nearly three months, to late in August 2014.
The defendants – the NCAA; video-game maker Electronic Arts and the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing and marketing firm, Collegiate Licensing Co. – also asked that next week’s hearing be held separately from other cases scheduled to go before the judge at the same time. As of Thursday evening, Wilken was scheduled to hear matters in a total of six cases beginning at 2 p.m. PT on June 20; earlier this week, nine cases were on Wilken’s schedule for that date and time.
The NCAA and its co-defendants on Thursday asked for what they termed a “special setting” for their hearing, perhaps on the morning of June 20, “in light of the complexity of the issues.”
The plaintiffs took no position on that request. However, … [For more on O'Bannon case takes several new and contentious turns, click here.]