SBD/June 17, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

NCAA Could Seek To Recover Legal Costs From Plaintiffs' Attorneys In O'Bannon Lawsuit

O'Bannon said he joined the suit against the NCAA with Vaccaro's urging
NCAA Exec VP & General Counsel Donald Remy said that if the NCAA "prevails in a lawsuit pertaining to the use of college athletes' names and likenesses, it could take what it says is an usual step in anti-trust cases: It may try to recover millions of dollars in legal expenses from the plaintiffs' lead law firm," according to Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY. U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken on Wednesday is "scheduled to hold a key hearing" in the case, but there is "no sign that the litigation will be concluded anytime soon." A trial is set for June '14, but the NCAA and its co-defendants last Thursday "asked Wilken to reset the case schedule in a way that would move the trial date back at least three more months." The NCAA's lawyers in numerous court filings have said that the plaintiffs -- whose lead attorneys are from the DC office of Hausfeld LLP -- "have made improper and unfair changes in their legal strategy." The NCAA's lawyers have said that those changes have "forced it and the association to spend considerably more time -- and, by extension, the association's money and human resources -- on the case than they otherwise would have." Remy said that he "could not provide a precise figure for the NCAA legal costs to this point." He said that it is "safe to say that they are in the millions of dollars, although 'I don't actually think it's in the eight figures'" (, 6/14). In Pittsburgh, J. Brady McCollough reported former Nike, adidas and Reebok exec Sonny Vaccaro "convinced [Ed O'Bannon] to be the plaintiff" in the suit against the NCAA. O'Bannon said, "I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him. He's 100 percent engulfed in it. This is his baby. That's why I think this case will succeed. Because he's behind it" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/16).
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