Over the past several years the National Football League has been rocked with numerous scandals ranging from the “Deflategate” debacle to horrific instances of domestic violence. The NFL has seemingly limped away from each of these controversies with egg on its face, due in large part to a perceived unwillingness to appropriately or consistently discipline players. In reality, however, the NFL and its franchises must strictly abide by the terms of the League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) in disciplinary proceedings. Failure to adhere to the terms of the CBA—which include ample procedural protections for players—can result in an embarrassing reversal of disciplinary action, as recently seen in the “Deflategate” fiasco.
While collective bargaining agreements certainly have their advantages, non-unionized sports figures have not shied away from asserting their own legal rights. In this presentation, Gene Egdorf—Managing Attorney for The Lanier Law Firm’s Commercial Litigation and Sports and Entertainment practice groups—discusses how the NFL’s potent CBA has impacted player discipline in the face of outrageous conduct. Mr. Egdorf also addresses the ongoing unionization efforts of college athletes and other sports figures. Finally, Mr. Egdorf examines the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in O’Bannon v. NCAA, and expounds on some of the similar claims currently being litigated by sports figures around the country in the absence of collective bargaining agreements.
I. Review the history of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement and how the Agreement applies to player discipline in the NFL
II. Examine the impact that the Collective Bargaining Agreement has had on the NFL’s ability to respond to instances of domestic violence
III. Understand the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s role in a U.S. District Judge’s recent decision to vacate Tom Brady’s “Deflategate” suspension
IV. Evaluate the recent unionization efforts of college athletes and other groups
V. Understand the seminal O’Bannon decision and the Ninth Circuit’s partial reversal of that decision
VI. Survey the progeny of O’Bannon currently being litigated around the country and gain a basic understanding of those claims
VII. Examine some of the legal remedies available to non-unionized sports figures in the context of Hicks v. PGA Tour, Inc. (the “PGA Caddie Case”)
VIII. Receive a case update of Hicks v. PGA Tour, Inc. from the PGA caddies’ lead attorney
Eugene "Gene" R. Egdorf represents The Lanier Law Firm's clients in commercial and complex litigation matters. These cases have included matters involving antitrust, patent infringement, fraud, deceptive trade practices and breach of contract. His work on personal injury, work-related injuries, and products liability cases, including airplane crash litigation, medical device litigation, pharmaceutical liability and asbestos exposure has spurred a long line of victories on behalf of his clients. Gene, who is the Managing Attorney for Commercial Litigation, has been with The Lanier Law Firm since 1998.
Gene has become the utmost “go to” attorney in America for sports law and is a frequent media guest and commentator on legal issues in sports. He served as an expert source for a major news network regarding the Bowl Championship Series and has served as a panelist at the Fordham Sports Law Symposium. Gene recently acted as lead counsel in a high-profile case representing the family of Rice University student athlete Dale R. Lloyd II in a wrongful death lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The settlement resulted in the NCAA recommending, for the first time, that all collegiate student athletes be tested for the sickle cell trait. Egdorf further served as counsel on the historic NCAA Concussion Settlement that took place in mid 2014. The high profile settlement, among other things, required the NCAA to amend their guidelines regarding management of concussions as well as provide $75 million for medical monitoring and research. Gene also serves as Vice President and General Counsel for ETL Associates, Inc., one of the nation's most respected corporations devoted solely to the representation and management of professional athletes. This organization was selected to partner with The Maxwell Football Club (MFC) in its quest to secure new corporate sponsorships, aligned with the MFC's signature honors, the Maxwell Award (college player of the year), the Bednarik Award (college defensive player of the year) and the Bert Bell Award (NFL player of the year).
In 2004, Gene and Mark Lanier obtained a multimillion-dollar settlement for syringe manufacturer Retractable Technologies in an antitrust case against Becton Dickinson & Company, the world's largest manufacturer of medical syringes and needles. The case was settled one week before trial was scheduled to begin. Gene and The Lanier Law Firm also represented medical device manufacturer Rochester Medical Corp. in its long-running antitrust litigation against a group of companies that allegedly created a monopoly in the catheter market. Rochester Medical filed suit against its rivals in March 2004, and since that time he has negotiated several multimillion-dollar settlements for his client.
Gene also spearheaded The Lanier Law Firm's involvement in the now-famous Toyota "sudden acceleration” litigation, wherein the firm was selected to be member of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee. Gene’s and the firm’s involvement ultimately resulted in a $1.2 billion class action settlement, as well as settlements for individual plaintiffs who were injured in related accidents.
He further navigated the waters to bring about the high profile EA Sports settlement. Under his leadership, thousands of current and former NCAA student-athletes received a landmark settlement, with video game giant EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), over the unauthorized use of their names and likenesses.
Gene was honored as a "Rising Star" in the legal community in Texas Monthly magazine in 2005 and again in 2006. In 2012, he was also named by Texas Monthly as a Texas Super Lawyer, and was selected as a Top AV Rated Lawyer by Martindale - Hubbell. Further, the National Trial Lawyers Association named him one of the nation’s Top Trial Lawyers in 2011 and 2012.
Gene attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his undergraduate degree with honors in 1988. He earned his law degree the University of Texas School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and graduated with honors in 1991.
Gene is licensed to practice in all Texas courts, as well as United States District Courts in the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of Texas. Gene also is admitted to the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court of the United States. He is a certified contract advisor with the NFL Players Association as well as for the Canadian Football League.
Gene resides in Houston with his wife Laura and son, Matthew. He is an active volunteer for the Alliance for Lupus Research, and recently served as chairman of a major fundraising activity for the organization.
Very entertaining and informative
Very interesting about an interesting topic. Well done.
Great speaker, excellent content! Interesting topic. Made it very comprehensible.
Best cle I have done online
I really enjoyed this one! The instructor is very thorough in his explanations and makes topics interesting.
Very polished and knowledgeable speaker. Caught my attention early and kept it for the entire program.
Very interesting topic for sports fans like me...
Great content', excellent speaker
Good coverage of emerging issues - useful for planning in sports others than those covered in the presentation
Very interesting, will give new meaning to football games for me now
very interesting and informative
Really interesting topic. Very well presented!
Great presentation. liked it a lot.
As a lawyer who is a sports fan, I really enjoyed this program. Very informative.
the single best CLE course I have ever watched. speaker was knowledgeable, credible, smart, experienced
This was a very informative lecture. Thank you for your time.
Exemplary presentation! I was amazed to find that the NFL Commissioner and Judge Doty in Minnesota have so much power when it comes to the CBA and players. The citation to various cases past was great as it provided a reference point . The presenter wa
If you like sports, you will find this presentation really interesting.
Fascinating - Mr. Egdorf presented a fact-filled report on the status and trends of sports/labor negotiations and litigation.
I really enjoyed his class
Well presented interesting slant on labor law and master agreements with unions.
Current and awesome.
Excellent Presenter, I really enjoyed his personal perspective!
This was a much more interesting topic then I originally believed it would be. Great job!!
enjoyed it. very interesting
Outstanding program and presenter! Thank you