Bobby Herbert dress.JPGThis whole “the New Orleans Saints are in the Super Bowl” thing is starting to get a little out of hand. First of all, that picture to the right is of a man in a dress. Not just any man, that’s Bobby Hebert, former Saints quarterback and current Saints broadcaster, in a dress. It’s a tribute to bats**t craziness legendary Saints broadcaster, Buddy Diliberto, and there were hundreds of men dressed in drag to celebrate … football.
And this craziness has been well documented by a New Orleans legal system that has garned national attention. Remember the judge who took judicial notice of “Saintsmania”? That’s the kind of story that is pretty standard for Above the Law, but you can imagine our surprise when producers for ESPN called us asking for a copy of the order.
Then we had a story about the NFL claiming ownership of the phrase “Who Dat.” I figured that would garner some attention, but I didn’t expect Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, both Louisiana U.S. Senators, and most of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation to all start screaming at the NFL.
In a rare move, the NFL caved under the enormous pressure. WDSU 6 reports:

Initially, the NFL said shop owners would have to pay for the right to sell Who Dat stuff. But now it seems the NFL has backed off the position, saying they don’t own the right to “Who Dat” when it’s by itself. The issue is when the phrase is paired with an NFL or Saints logo. …
U.S. David Vitter also chimed in again Monday, sending out a statement.
“The Senator is pleased that the NFL is already coming off its original position. However, he is continuing to demand that the NFL drop any claim on the phrase Who Dat under any circumstances and will be sending a more detailed letter to the NFL Monday,” said Joel DiGrado, Vitter spokesman.

You know, if we could harness this kind of uprising, we could probably get the NFL to do something about its horrible overtime system.
The lesson is that the people in New Orleans take partying with the Saints very seriously.
And today we’re learning that this didn’t just start with the Saints Super Bowl appearance. The legal system was cowering to Saintsmania during the NFC Championship game as well.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New Orleans, I Love You, But Y’all Need To Calm Down”

Who Dat chips.JPGBack when I used to practice law, I had the opportunity to do some low-level IP work for the National Football League. As Biglaw work goes, it was pretty fun. And I remember the staff lawyers at the NFL as a very nice and engaging group of men and women.
But sometimes, the IP gurus at the NFL really know how to act like an immense turd in a punch (super) bowl. Remember when the NFL cracked down on the “unlicensed” use of the term Super Bowl? Then there’s the NFL’s ongoing ridiculousness with American Needle. For the overlords of a sport that claims to be “America’s passion,” the NFL has a curious way of crushing the life out of anything that could even slightly siphon a dollar away from their clever system of unlimited revenue potential and fixed labor costs.
But the latest example of the NFL blitzing small entrepreneurs is arguably more ridiculous than everything that has come before. The NFL is claiming ownership over the phrase “Who Dat.” According to WWLTV in Louisiana, the NFL wants to own a chant:

As the Saints’ appearance in their first Super Bowl gets closer, the marketplace is being flooded with Saints merchandise and memorabilia as businesses are looking to cash in on the euphoria, but the NFL is cracking down on the use of their trademarks, including the iconic phrase “Who Dat.”

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of taking in a football game at the Superdome, the full chant goes: “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?” So let’s be clear — the NFL claims it owns a chant of ungrammatical pidgin English that can’t even be pronounced properly without using a Bobby Boucher accent. The NFL doesn’t have what they call “the social skills.”
More details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who Dat Sey Dey Own Dat Chant?”

Saints robot.JPGUnless you have been living under a rock, you know that the New Orleans Saints are going to the Superbowl! You also know that the Saints have never been to the Superbowl; the franchise was once so bad that fans would wear paper bags over their heads to home games. And you surely remember that the city of New Orleans doesn’t have gills, and thus has suffered some tragedy in the recent past.
City still recovering from tragedy + Beloved football team + Superbowl – Open container laws = Mass freaking hysteria. Children are skipping school, adults are having their stomachs pumped, and judges are playing along.
If Alabama lawyers asked for a motion to continue because their team made the BCS National Championship Game, you can best believe that New Orleans attorneys will not be working that hard around Superbowl time. Civil District Court Judge Michael G. Bagneris just made it official.
Read the judge’s order to respect the Saints (and grant a continuance) after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who Dat Needs A Continuance?”

American Needle v NFL logo.jpgTomorrow, the Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments in the case American Needle v. National Football League for the purposes of determining whether the NFL clubs’ collective licensing of individual club trademarks is exempt from Section 1 of the Sherman Act under antitrust law’s single entity defense.
American Needle, which is represented by the law firm Jones Day, will argue that the Supreme Court should uphold the ruling of at least seven lower courts, each of which has found that the business practices of the NFL clubs are subject to Section 1 of the Sherman Act (American Needle’s briefs are available here and here). By contrast, the NFL, which is represented by the law firm Covington & Burling, will argue that, despite these lower court rulings, the NFL is really more akin to a single company and should be treated as such for antitrust purposes (The NFL’s brief is available here).
More details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sports and the Law: Oral Arguments Begin Tomorrow in American Needle v. NFL”

Me football young and healthy.JPGYes, I have my Al Bundy-esque stories of high school sports glory. You’re not going to believe this, but I used to be a tailback. 4-year letterman, 3-year starter, with a sub-5.0 forty time good enough for D-III, probably could have made a D-II team if I really wanted it.
Yes, I used to … care.
But, by the time I got to Biglaw my athletic days were long gone (Mmm … college). By the time I got to Biglaw, I could pull a hamstring walking from my seat at Shea to the hot dog stand (Mmm … hot dogs). When I was a summer associate, a colleague broke his collar bone running out a grounder at the firm outing. I vowed that would not be me. Sitting is the better part of valor. So, I stayed clear of firm organized (non-beer pong) sporting events and leagues.
But I was glad they existed. Hyper-competitive people who are not me should release some of that energy on athletic fields and gyms instead of unleashing all of it in the office.
Sadly, this recession means cutbacks. Am Law Daily reports that one of the things being axed is firm sponsored teams in lawyer sports leagues:

New York’s Lawyers Athletic League, for instance, has seen the number of teams in its winter basketball league drop about 30 percent over the past two years, from 142 to 100. Participation in Los Angeles’ primary legal industry sports league, the Landau Lawyers League, has also experienced a decline in participation levels for its softball and basketball leagues. And in Houston, the basketball, softball, and football leagues organized by the city’s young lawyers association have all gotten smaller over the past 18 months.
One big reason the Houston leagues are shrinking: some firms simply don’t want to pay the entry fees required to field teams.
“The bigger firms don’t seem to have pulled in the reins,” says Earl Spencer, a lawyer with Weingarten Realty Investors who chairs the Houston Young Lawyers Association’ sports committee. “But at smaller firms, where 400 or 500 bucks makes a difference, there is more reluctance now.”

Even at firms that can afford to participate, the optics of paying for employed lawyers to have fun, while recently laid off lawyers cash unemployment checks, are not good.
Additional details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Recession is Hurting Lawyer Sports”

raven akram sandberg phoenix cheerleader.jpgWe occasionally write about career alternatives for attorneys here at Above The Law. But as far as we know, cheerleading does not constitute a full-time job. So we’re creating a new “extracurricular pursuits” category for it.

Many lawyers are cheerleaders in a way, seeking to boost their clients’ spirits and fortunes and tout their best qualities. Perhaps that’s why this is not the first time a legal cheerleader has found her way into our pages.

An ATL reader alerted us that Raven Akram, an attorney at Sandberg Phoenix, moonlights as an NFL cheerleader for the St. Louis Rams. Sandberg Phoenix is a 65-attorney trial firm with “seriously unbelievable client service.” Akram joined the firm’s St. Louis office in 2008.

Our tipster writes:

I found myself wondering how I would feel as a client if I were at a NFL game and my attorney was profiled on the big screen in a skimpy bikini. I also found myself wondering why an apparently successful attorney would spend her spare time cheerleading for what is objectively the worst team in the NFL.

We imagine clients would feel excited… about having such a hot attorney.

Her firm bio is pretty dry; she’s a Saint Louis University School of Law grad who specializes in business litigation. Let’s take a look at her cheerleading bio (and photo), after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Extracurricular Pursuits for Attorneys: St. Louis Rams Cheerleader”

broken ankle softball suit.JPGThis story actually broke last week, but I wanted to make sure you guys saw it. The Daily News reports:

A Queens softball player is suing the city, claiming she busted her ankle because her high school coach never taught her how to slide.
Alina Cerda, 15, says she’s been sidelined for seven months and wants the city Education Department and Francis Lewis High School coach Bryan Brown to pay.

Cerda busted her leg during — wait for it — a sliding drill.
I feel bad about making fun of a fifteen-year-old girl. Don’t worry, I am going to make fun of her — I just want you guys to know I feel bad about what’s about to happen.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day a Couple of Days Ago: Softballer Can’t Slide, Wants Money”

Alabama Crimson Tide.JPGOn Wednesday, we told you about Alabama defense lawyers who filed a motion to continue based on a conflict with the BCS title game. The judge has said he will grant the motion, even though the judge is an alumnus of Alabama’s arch rival, Auburn. Deadspin explains this miscarriage of justice perfectly:

If you’re going to start creating judicial precedents on the basis of college football schedules, then shouldn’t you also conform those judgments to reflect a more proper demonstration of your allegiance? An Auburn judge should not only deny any motion filed by a U of A attorney, he should hold them in contempt of court and make them swear to tell the truth under an oath to Pat Sullivan. That’s some smash mouth law makin’!
Instead, Circuit Judge Dan King says that a man who has waited four years to see the memory of his dead mother honored in a court of law can wait a few more months, because “If I didn’t, they’d say, ‘He just didn’t grant it because he’s an Auburn fellow.’” Yes, “they” might say that. They might also say that “He’s an adult who doesn’t think that educated professionals should get the day off every time they want hold recess outside.” The Crimson Tide will solider on just fine without eight extra lawyers getting hammered in the Rose Bowl parking lot.

Auburn fans, it looks like Judge Dan King needs a friendly email reminder about which side his bread is buttered on.
It’s not like the motion went unanswered — plaintiff’s attorneys filed a response.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Every Alabama Lawyer Should Try the ‘BCS Defense’”

Susan Finkelstein Phillies sex.JPGIn October, we told you that a Philadelphia Phillies superfan, Susan Finkelstein, allegedly attempted to trade sex for World Series tickets. Her preliminary hearing was yesterday, and … well, I’ll let the Philadelphia Inquirer explain it to you:

“I admit it. I’m a prostitute. I love sex. I’m a whore,” the Bensalem police officer testified that Finkelstein had told him as he posed as “Bob” at Manny Brown’s in Bensalem.
She talked about “how much she loved anal sex,” he said, alleging later that she pulled up her denim skirt to expose her genital area and asked, “You wanna touch it?”

Hey now. That might be even too much drama for TNT. Who does she think she is, Eddy Curry?
Finkelstein denies all of it. Her side after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cop Claims Phillies Fan Said She Was a Whore”

Alabama Crimson Tide.JPGUpdate: This motion was granted.
Some on this board have doubted my commitment to college football. Even though I didn’t go to a school with a major FCS team, I adopted Michigan long, long ago (Elvis Grbac era), and I know how important the sport is.
So believe me when I say that this motion to continue is one of the most rational arguments you are likely to hear today. The motion comes from defense counsel in Alabama. It’s so wonderful that even the plaintiffs attorneys found it amusing, as this email from Marsh, Rickard & Bryan shows:

Check out this Motion to Continue that was filed by the defendants in one of our cases today. LOL, it’s awesome.

Roll Tide!

Indeed, it is awesome. And, by now, I’m sure you know why defense counsel is asking for the continuance.
But it’s not just the thought. After all, sports-related continuance motions have been filed before.
It’s the execution that makes it great. Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Best. Motion to Continue. Ever.”

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