Man, it’s crap like this that gives lawyers a bad name.
More than $208 million of what used to be the NCAA’s money is sitting in a bank account, waiting to be distributed to at least 50,000 current and former college athletes as well as the lawyers who represented them in a case that was settled well over a year ago.
Standing in the way are one former college football player and his attorney.
Before you start pumping your fist in the air about the news confirming your worst thoughts about the motives of the lawyers suing the NCAA, realize this is nothing more than a shakedown by one of those lawyers against the rest who are trying to get the award distributed to their clients. How do I know? Because this isn’t her first rodeo.
They have taken their objection to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, repeating an action that they and another objector pursued three years ago in the wake of a $60 million settlement related to the use of college athletes’ names and likenesses in video games. In both instances, the objections centered at least in part on the attorney’s fees and costs awarded to the plaintiffs’ lawyers.
The former player, Western Michigan wide receiver Darrin Duncan, ultimately withdrew the appeal to the video-games settlement, but not until after court filings revealed that his attorney, Caroline Tucker, attempted to obtain $200,000 from the plaintiffs’ lawyers in exchange for dropping the objection.
It’s bad enough that the judge has required them to post a bond to pursue further action, on the grounds that the objection raised is “meritless and thus his appeal is unlikely to succeed.” It’s bad enough that the other attorneys have filed motions asking for sanctions against the two. And, again, history suggests they have a point.
The motion for sanctions notes that since 2016, there are seven other cases in which she has represented – or is representing – objectors in appeals to the 9th Circuit. Three of those cases are pending, she lost in one and she voluntarily dismissed the others. In addition, the motion says, Tucker has been an objector in four other class-action settlement appeals spread across four different circuits, voluntarily dismissing each.
And that’s not even the most cringeworthy part. This is.
All of this is occurring against the backdrop of Duncan dealing with personal hardship.
Now 28, he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to his mother and a GoFundMe page established on his behalf about a year ago.