BOYD et al v. NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE et al

Filing 1

COMPLAINT against NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, NFL PROPERTIES LLC ( Filing fee $ 350 receipt number 055871.), filed by MACARTHUR LANE, MARK COOPER, BRAD JACKSON, ROBERT BELL, CHARLES ANTHONY, CLIFF HARRIS, MARVIN WOODSON, PAUL KRAUSE, NOEL JENKE, CHARLES MYRTLE, CEDRICK HARDMAN, BRUCE LAIRD, JOE DELAMIELLEURE, DON HORN, DENNIS HARRAH, JAMES WILLIAMS, MARK KONAR, TOMMY NOBIS, JAMES JONES, CALVIN JACKSON, TROY JOHNSON, MICHAEL MORTON, PETER LAZETICH, CALEB MILLER, JOSEPH KAPP, MICHAEL WEDDINGTON, HARVEY ARMSTRONG, DERLAND MOORE, MICHAEL MERRIWEATHER, JAMES HARRELL, AARON JONES, II, KENNETH EASLEY, JR, ESTATE OF GREGORY LENS, RICK SANFORD, WILLIAM "BILLY&quo SHIELDS, GARY PADJEN, CHARLES KRUEGER, PHIL VILLAPIANO, KEN FANTETTI, DONNIE GREEN, LEON "RAY" JARVIS, EDWARD WHITE, JOE FERGUSON, JR, LARRY WOODS, DONALD MACEK, JEFF BARNES, CHARLIE SMITH, LEE FOLKINS, DERRICK GAFFNEY, AUGUST "GUS" OTTO, PHILLIP FREEMAN, III, OLRICK JOHNSON, JR, WILLIE GREEN, JAMES HOUGH, CHARLEY HARRAWAY, THOMAS BEER, JAMES GARCIA, FRED FORSBERG, TERRANCE "TERRY&quo METCALF, BOBBY HARDEN, JR, DENNIS MCKNIGHT, ALFRED GROSS, GENE LANG, LEMUEL BARNEY, BRENT BOYD, DELLES HOWELL, JERRY ROBINSON, WILLIAM "BILL" CODY, VICTOR HICKS, ARTHUR STILL, REGINALD CLARK, CRAIG CURRY, DONALD MANOUKIAN, MARK NICHOLS, JEFF MCINTYRE, DAVID RECHER, LEONARD "BUBBA&quo MCDOWELL, JR, MIKE WOOD, TERRY OWENS, CLARENCE VERDIN, BRYAN STOLENBERG, ROD MARTIN, ROBERT KROLL, KEITH NORD, MICHAEL "TONY" DAVIS, CONRAD DOBLER, MELVIN CARVER, MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK, TRUMAINE JOHNSON, FRED SMERLAS, RANDY RAGON, MARGENE ADKINS, NEAL CRAIG, WILLIAM "BILLY&quo TRUAX, KORY MINOR, J. BRUCE JARVIS, LIONEL ANTOINE, STEVE JONES, PETER CRONAN, IRA MATTHEWS, III, MARK COTNEY, JEFFREY WALKER, MERVIN KRAKAU, JON MELANDER, LARRY WEBSTER, FRED ANDERSON. (Attachments: # 1 complaint, # 2 complaint, # 3 complaint, # 4 complaint, # 5 complaint, # 6 complaint, # 7 complaint, # 8 complaint, # 9 complaint, # 10 complaint, # 11 complaint, # 12 complaint, # 13 complaint, # 14 complaint, # 15 complaint, # 16 complaint, # 17 complaint, # 18 complaint, # 19 Civil Cover Sheet)(mima, )

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dizziness, loss of memory, impulse control problems, depression, suicidal thoughts, sleep problems, irritability, and numbness/tingling in neck and cervical spine. 111. Defendant NFL, which maintains its offices at280 Park Avenue, New York, New York, is an unincorporated association consisting of the 32 separately-owned and independently-operated professional football teams that are listed below. The NFL is engaged in interstate commerce in the business of, among other things, operating the sole major professional football league in the United States. The NFL is not, and has not, been the employer of the Plaintiffs, all of whom were employed during their respective careers in professional football by the clubs indicated above. The United States Supreme Court held last year in American Needle, Inc. v. NFL,130 S.Ct.2201,2212-13 (2010) that each team that is a member of the NFL association is a legally distinct and separate entity from both other teams and the League itself: The NFL teams do not possess either the unitary decisionmaking quality or the single aggregation of economic power characteristic of independent action. Each of the teams is a substantial, independently owned, and independently managed business. "[T]heir general corporate actions are guided or determined" by o'separate corporate consciousnesses," and "[t]heir objectives are" not "common." . . . The teams compete with one another, not only on the playing field, but to attract fans, for gate receipts and for contracts with managerial and playing personnel. ll2. The 32 separately-owned and independently-operated professional football teams mentioned above are: State of NFL Team Owner Team Name (City) 0rganization Arizona Cardinals, Inc. Arizona Arizona Cardinals Atlanta Falcons Football Club LLC Georgia Atlanta Falcons Baltimore Ravens Limited Partnership Maryland Baltimore Ravens 34 Buffalo Bills,Inc. New York Buffalo Bills Panthers Football LLC North Carolina Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Football Club, Inc. Delaware Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals, Inc. Ohio Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns LLC Delaware Cleveland Browns Dallas Cowboys Football Club, Ltd. Texas Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos Football Club Colorado Denver Broncos Detroit Lions, Inc. Michigan Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers, Inc. Wisconsin Green Bay Packers Houston NFL Holdings LP Delaware Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts, Inc. Delaware Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Ltd. Florida Jacksonville Jaguars Kansas City Chiefs Football Club, Inc. Texas Kansas City Chiefs Miami Dolphins, Ltd. Florida Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings Football Club LLC Minnesota Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots, LP Delaware New England Patriots New Orleans Louisiana Saints LLC Texas New Orleans Saints New York Football Giants,Inc. New York New York Giants New York Jets Football Club, Inc. Delaware New York Jets Oakland Raiders LP California Oakland Raiders Philadelphia Eagles Football Club, Inc. Delaware Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers Sports, Inc. Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Steelers San Diego Chargers Football Co. California San Diego Chargers 35 San Francisco Forty Niners Ltd. California San Francisco 49ers Football Northwest LLC Washington Seattle Seahawks The Rams Football Company LLC Delaware St. Louis Rams Buccaneers Limited Partnership Delaware Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee Football, Inc. Delaware Tennessee Titans Washington Football Inc. Maryland Washington Redskins 113. Defendant NFL Properties, LLC as the successor-in-interest to National Football League Properties Inc. ("NFL Properties") is a limited liability company organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware with its headquarters in the State of New York. NFL Properties is engaged in, among other activities, approving, licensing and promoting equipment used by all the National Football League teams. NFL Properties regularly conducts business in California. lI4. Defendants National Football League and NFL Properties shall be referred to collectively herein as the "NFL" or "League." 115. The NFL caused or contributed to the injuries alleged herein through its voluntary undertaking including its acts and omissions in misrepresenting the true risks of repeated traumatic brain and head impacts in NFL football, and failing to take appropriate steps to prevent and mitigate repeated traumatic brain and head impacts in the NFL and the latent neurodegenerative disorders and diseases caused by these impacts. 116. Third parties that conspired with the NFL in the tortious conduct alleged herein include but are not limited to the member NFL clubs identified herein and Riddell Inc., d.b.a. Riddell Sports Group, Inc., All American Sports Corp.d.b.a. Riddell/All American, 36 Riddell Sports Group, Inc., Easton-Bell Sports, fnc., and Easton-Bell Sports LLC, EB Sports Corp. MASS ACTION AND JOINDER ALLEGATIONS ll7. Joinder is permissible pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a) in that the claims alleged herein arise out of the same series of occurrences, and questions of law or fact cornmon to all Plaintif├č arise in this action. 118. Common questions of law and fact will arise in this action, including but not limited to: a. Whether the NFL, through its own voluntary undertaking, was negligent in its response to the health effects of repeated head impacts and the injuries consequently suffered by the Plaintiffs; b. Whether $ 301 of the Labor Relations Management Act preempts Plaintiffs' tort law claims pled herein; c. Whether the NFL committed negligence and/or fraud in misrepresenting the risks of repeated head impacts in NFL play to the Plaintiffs; and d. Whether repeated head impacts during play in the NFL cause latent neurodegenerative brain disorders and disease. NATURE OF NFL'S BUSINESS 119. The primary business in which the NFL and its member clubs are engaged is the operation of major league professional football teams and the sale of tickets and telecast rights to the public for the exhibition of the individual and collective football talents of players such as Plaintiffs. a- JI 120. The NFL's transactions involve collective annual expenditures and receipts in excess of $9.3 billion. But, as Dan Greeley, CEO of Network Insights, has noted: The NFL is like Procter & Gamble. There's the holding company, the core operation, but then each brand has its own team and world of revenue. Like Tide: That's a P&G product but within that there are different types of Tide and a number of people that make money from it. So the $9.3 billion pie just scratches the surface and doesn't get into how much is spent around stadiums, merchandise, agents, all the way down to mom-and-pop shops. l2l. Annually, the NFL redistributes upwards of $4 billion in radio, television and digital earnings to the clubs that are part of the NFL association -$125 million apiece, plus an equal share for the league-and that number shows no sign of declining. The 19 highest-rated fall television programs (and 28 of the top 30) were NFL games, and this year's Super Bowl was the most-watched program ever. The NFL earns huge amounts annually from its telecasting deals with, inter alia, ESPN ($1.1 billion), DirecTV ($1 billion), NBC ($650 million), Fox (8712.5 million), and CBS (56225 million). I22. Companies pour money into the league's coffers for the right to associate their brands with the NFL. Among those making such contributions are Pepsi ($560 million over eight years, starting in2004) and Gatorade ($45 million ayear,plus marketing costs and free Gatorade for teams). Verizon is paying $720 service provider. Nike paid $1.1 million over four years to be the league's wireless billion to acquire the NFL's apparel sponsorship. Previous partner Reebok had been selling $350 million annually in NFl-themed gear. The League has a $1.2 billion, six-year deal with beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch, but teams still cut their own deals when it comes to pouring rights at stadiums. On September 7,2011, it was announced that the NFL signed a new lO-year $2.3 billion deal with Pepsi, which is one of the largest sponsorship 38 deals in sports history. It encompasses a number of Pepsi brands (Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Quaker Oats and Gatorade). This deal, combined with a number of other ne\ry sponsorships, ticket sales projections & TV ratings, means that the NFL is projecting record revenues of over $9.5 billion this season. I23. Teams can collect $25-$30 10-year deals. The largest is Reliant Energy's $10 million for stadium naming rights, usually on million per year contract with the Houston Texans. In Los Angeles, Farmers Insurance has promised $700 million over 30 years to name a stadium for a team that doesn't exist yet. I24. Many clubs that are part of the NFL association own in whole or in part the stadiums in which they play, which can be a source of major commercial value, as reflected in the following chart: PRICE STADIUM, TEAM OPENEI) (2010 % PRIVATE DOLLARS) New Meadowlands, NY 2010 $1.68 100 Cowboys Stadium, DAL 2009 $l.1sB 56 Lucas Oil Field,IND 2008 s780M 13 U. of Phoenix Stadium, ARI 2006 s493M 32 Lincoln Financial, PHI 2003 $588M 65 Ford Field, DET 2002 $s04M 49 Gillette Stadium, NE 2002 $373M 100 Reliant Stadium, HOU 2002 $s26M 39 39

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