Federal Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal Of NFLPA Marketing Case
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A federal appeals court last week ruled the NFLPA did not have a fiduciary duty to five former players who contended the union should have done more to market their rights. A panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in S.F. affirmed a lower court ruling dismissing the case brought by the five players – Bob Grant, Clinton Jones, Walter Roberts, Marvin Cobb and Bernie Parrish. They had sued after a separate group of players had won a trial in '08 against the NFLPA alleging the union failed to market them properly. But these players had signed group-licensing agreements with the union, which ultimately settled the case for $26.25M.
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The Grant case was filed on behalf of retirees who had not signed licensing agreements. The Ninth Circuit ruled that in the case of Grant, Roberts and Parrish, they were certainly not entitled to a duty from the union because they had not paid dues under the period covered by the lawsuit. The court’s four-judge panel ruled that “none of the appellants, including Cobb and Jones, produced evidence showing that they had a right to control the NFLPA’s alleged activities on their behalf.”