The O’Bannon plaintiffs are ready to go to trial. The NCAA, understandably, is in no such hurry. And it’s gotten some support from an unlikely source…
On Friday night, lawyers for Keller — a former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback — filed a motion that said that if the claims are not separated at trial, they want to delay the trial. The NCAA has previously sought that as well. The Keller plaintiffs are attempting to protect their claims against the NCAA from overlapping litigation.
The Keller plaintiffs said they can be ready for trial in six months once U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken lifts a stay that has prevented discovery from being accumulated. If Wilken decides the antitrust case won’t impact the right-of-publicity trial, the Keller plaintiffs said they have no position on the NCAA’s request to delay the trial.
The videogame-related claims are “not ripe for trial” because discovery is not completed, the Keller plaintiffs wrote. They said the O’Bannon plaintiffs cannot “adequately represent” the interests of the Keller plaintiffs because the two classes have “divergent interests.”
… and from more likely sources.
Also Friday, eight media companies — CBS, Fox, Turner, ABC, NBC Universal, A&E, NPR and Discovery — filed a brief supporting the NCAA in its attempt to appeal a First Amendment issue for the trial. The companies, along with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, are jointly trying to file the brief to persuade Wilken to let the NCAA appeal a First Amendment issue to the 9th U.S. Circuit Appeals.
Wilken ruled on April 11 that the First Amendment does not guarantee media organizations unlimited rights to broadcast entire college football and basketball games — a defense used by the NCAA. She concluded that the question of whether athletes hold any ownership rights in their athletic performances depends on whether the athletes validly transferred their rights of publicity to another party, such as a school, conference or broadcaster.
All of this sounds like it’s going to Donald Remy’s head. He’s getting a little more feisty.
In a statement released Saturday, NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said, “All interested parties other than Mr. Hausfeld and his O’Bannon clients agree: the antitrust case scheduled for trial on June 9 should not go forward with videogame-related claims that are now at risk of being tried two or three times. The unanimity of opinion, including not just defendants but also all non-O’Bannon plaintiffs, demonstrates that granting the motion to sever would avoid prejudice and massive, unnecessary duplication of effort. Mr. Hausfeld and his clients are alone in their opposition to the motion, and their amped up rhetoric should be dismissed for what it is: a smokescreen to distract from the merits and promote their PR agenda.”
Speaking of amped up rhetoric, maybe Remy would like to turn his attention to Jim Brown. He’s inviting it: “I wanted to say it as harsh as I could, because I want them to come at me in any way they want to…” Then again, if there’s a 77-year old man I wouldn’t want to mess with, it’s Jim Brown.