From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
By Porter Wells
Former Villanova University football player Poppy Livers is hoping a federal court will allow his legal play in an ongoing struggle in which student athletes demand to be treated as employees entitled to pay. A motion filed Feb. 20 accuses the National Collegiate Athletic Association of misleading the court in order to escape paying student athletes.
Federal courts have already dismissed suits brought by student athletes demanding wages in the Seventh Circuit and in the Northern District of California. In both cases, the courts decided that student athletes aren’t employees within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act and therefore aren’t entitled to minimum wage.
Now duking it out in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the NCAA is relying on those two cases as it defends against Livers’ lawsuit—a choice Livers says is improper and deserving of sanctions.
Livers’ motion for sanctions says that the courts in the previous cases drew incorrect parallels between student athletes and prisoners. He says the NCAA therefore shouldn’t be allowed to use them as support in the current case.
Unpaid prison labor has been carved out as an exemption from the FLSA’s “employee” status because the Thirteenth Amendment explicitly allows involuntary, unpaid labor as punishment for a crime. That exemption shouldn’t have been expanded to student athletes in any jurisdiction because student athletes haven’t committed a crime, Livers says.
The thrust of Livers’ motion is his argument that defense counsel already knows the expansion of the prisoner exemption is incorrect, given defense counsel in the present case is the same as in the two previous cases. Law firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith and Prophete in Los Angeles has been listed as at least one of the NCAA’s counsel in all three student-athlete cases.
“Defense counsel should not be permitted to insulate themselves from sanctions by reference to any case decided in error based upon their own, prior misrepresentations,” Paul McDonald of P L McDonald Law in Philadelphia told Bloomberg Law. McDonald represents Livers in the putative class action against the NCAA and other defendant colleges and universities.
Counsel for the NCAA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The court hasn’t yet ruled on Livers’ motion for sanctions or on the NCAA’s motion to dismiss Livers’ claims.
The case Livers v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, E.D. Pa., No. 2:17-cv-04271-MMB, motion for sanctions 2/20/18.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)