The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has become the epicenter for sports related litigation in the past few years. Much has been said about O’Bannon v. NCAA, where former UCLA basketball star is the named plaintiff representing thousands of former college football and basketball players are challenging the NCAA’s right to determine them “student-athletes,” thus denying them a share of lucrative television and sponsorship deals that universities and college conferences enjoy.
Many major college football and basketball programs have become multi-million dollar enterprises because of these athletes, and the strict regulations about players receiving benefits has been the subject of many debates. Some say that the O’Bannon case, and others like it, could chance college athletics forever.
The class action lawsuit brought by Hall of Fame defensive lineman Richard Dent is another important case. Dent and others similarly situated contend that the National Football League jeopardized players’ health by negligently giving them painkillers without advising them of the future risks. Additionally, the Oakland Athletics recently sued Major League Baseball in the district, claiming that baseball’s “territorial rights” policy infringed upon their right to do business in San Jose.
So why have these cases ended up in the Bay Area? Some legal pundits believe that it is the district’s plaintiff friendly reputation that helps things. However, in addition to prospective advantages, there must be reasonable connections to the area in order for the court to establish personal jurisdiction over a prospective defendant.
Discussions about venue are critical, and an experienced attorney can provide insight on which jurisdiction would be best to bring a particular action.
Source: Espn.com “Why you should know Claudia Wilken,” Luke Cyphers, June 16, 2014