The Legal Blitz Goes Podcasting with Above the Law

It’s March Madness. Or, as a person with a rudimentary respect for trademark laws would say, “It’s time for the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament.”

In this episode of Thinking Like a Lawyer, the Legal Talk Network takes a look at running an office bracket pool. But it turns out that gambling is illegal in most states. Why is that the case? Should we live in a world where we have laws that nobody even tries to enforce?

Legal Blitz founder Steve Silver recently joined Above the Law editors Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice to explain how we’ve gotten to the point where nearly every office worker in America breaks the law every March. Tune in here.

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Pennsylvania Senator Seeks To Legalize NCAA Bracket Pools

This article originally appeared in the March 18, 2015 edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal

Despite the best efforts of the NCAA and the federal government in defending farcical amateurism and anti-gambling platforms, March Madness is about one thing — sports betting. Specifically, betting in the form of bracket pools.

This week, the American Gaming Association estimates that 40 million Americans will fill out more than 70 million brackets and wager $9 billion on the NCAA tournament. That staggering figure is more than double the amount bet on the Super Bowl ($3.9 billion).

Perhaps most astounding is that of the $9 billion bet on this “student” basketball competition, only about $2 billion is wagered legally. For most aspiring bracketologists just hoping to earn a few extra bucks from their co-workers, the legal ramifications of these seemingly innocuous tournament brackets are never fully considered.

However, March Madness brackets, like all sports betting outside of Nevada and parlays cards in Delaware, are simply not legal. One Pennsylvania legislator, however, is trying to preserve March Madness office fun by officially legalizing bracket pools.

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Concussion Detection Problems Persist and Plague Player Safety

Concussions are a fact of life in contact sports. But can modern technology do anything to detect or even prevent them?

By Frank N. Darras, Esq. Mr. Darras is the founding partner of DarrasLaw, America’s top disability insurance litigation firm. His firm has recovered nearly $800 million in wrongfully denied insurance benefits for clients of all backgrounds and professions across the nation.

Will we ever tire of hearing about concussions in the NFL?

As long as the hits keep coming, it’s not likely. And the hits do keep coming.

The NFL recently announced it will not use helmet sensors next season, effectively halting one active effort to gain a better understanding of concussions. This, coupled with the still-imperfect process of sideline concussion tests, leaves us with concern about the future of concussion detection research.

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Fifty Shades of Fantasy Gray Area With Your Taxes

By Patrick Guinan, CPA. Mr. Guinan is the owner of PHL Tax Services and He is a graduate of Temple University’s Fox School of Business and a CPA licensed by the State of Pennsylvania. He is accepting new clients with Daily Fantasy Winnings nationwide and can file your return in all US States and Localities.

You may have had a great year in 2014 grinding out a nice profit on FanDuel, DraftKings or any of the other popular Daily Fantasy Sports sites. You may also be licking your wounds with losses on some of the sites. But come late January or early February, Uncle Sam will come calling if you were a winner.

You will receive a Form 1099-MISC from one of those sites if you received Net Earnings greater than $600 and it will be shown on Box 3. You may also receive a W-9 Form asking for your social security number and home address. Do not ignore these forms. Compliance is key because the penalties are $50 plus backup withholding of 28 percent. You should report net earnings of $1 or more, but anything more than $600 is what will be reported to the IRS.

So say you have a profitable year and you receive tax forms from these sites, you just want to get back to the daily fantasy grind, but now you have taxes to deal with. What should you do? Aside from calling a tax professional specializing in fantasy sports, you need to know some basic information about your taxes.

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Wrestlers United: The Case For A WWE Union

By Doug Fuglsang. Mr. Fuglsang is a licensed attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin with a Sports Law Certificate from the National Sports Law Institute. He can be reached at

In 2014, CM Punk, the self-proclaimed “Best in the World,” vanished from the WWE one year removed from a 434-day title reign. Punk was later suspended, and ultimately fired, by the WWE, but both Punk and WWE remained relatively silent on the details of their falling out.

The Internet Wrestling Community did not hesitate to fill the void with rampant speculation as to why such a popular superstar suddenly left such a beloved institution as the WWE.

Rumors aside, the truth as to why Punk and the WWE parted ways in such a public and bitter way lies in employment law. Specifically, Punk was fed up with the independent contractor-employee dichotomy. The dirty little secret of the wrestling business is that professional wrestlers are not WWE employees, they are independent contractors. Therefore, they lack numerous benefits and protections that come with the “employee” status.

Recently, the rumblings of a professional wrestlers’ union have begun to surface, fueled by comments made by Punk after his departure from the WWE. Although there are numerous drawbacks to unionizing, it is ultimately a move that modern wrestlers should explore.

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The IRS Collects From Everyone, Even The Jocks

Christopher R. Cicalese is a CPA at Alloy Silverstein in Cherry Hill, NJ. He regularly advises professional athletes and can be reached at or on Twitter@AthleteCPA.

Tax season is upon us. From now until April, Americans get to enjoy the annual reminder that Uncle Sam is not the cool uncle.

Yet while the average American often struggles to understand their taxes with a single W-2 and a standard deduction, imagine having to pay taxes filing in dozens of different cities and states in a single year all with different rates, rules, and regulations. While it might sound absurd, this daunting task has become reality for professional athletes thanks to the “jock tax.”

The concept of the jock tax essentially began in 1991 when Michael Jordan made his first appearance in the NBA finals and helped the Chicago Bulls defeat the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Stadium Owners Beware: Experts No Longer Needed in NJ Elevator/Escalator Injury Lawsuits

Escalator and elevator accidents at sporting events are becoming more common. In New Jersey, plaintiffs no longer need to hire experts to win a personal injury lawsuit for damages arising out of accidents from these potentially dangerous devices.

Anyone that has ever attended an American sporting event has witnessed the inevitable battle between drunk fans and gravity. These fans often struggle to stay upright walking on a flat surface. Put them on an escalator, though, and all bets are off.

Yet what happens when an escalator or an elevator malfunctions and causes a legitimate injury to a fan or customer who was simply going about his or her business as usual? According to Consumer Watch, U.S. elevators make 18 billion passenger trips per year. Those trips result in only about 30 deaths per year, but nearly 20,000 people are injured by elevators and escalators annually according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Elevators cause almost 90 percent of those injuries.

So what do you do if you are hurt by an escalator or elevator? More often than not, the answer is found in a civil lawsuit for personal injuries. These lawsuits are costly endeavors for plaintiffs’ lawyers because escalators and elevators involve some fairly complex machinery and engineering. To litigate such a case, the attorney has to hire an expert to help prove that the property owner and/or the maintenance company was negligent. And trust me, these experts do not come cheap.

However, a recent ruling by the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division just eliminated the needs for experts, thereby drastically decreasing the cost of litigating an elevator or escalator injury case for plaintiffs.

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WWE Body Slams Merchandise Counterfeiters

As seen originally on ATL Redline.

The last time I watched professional wrestling, the WWE was the WWF and all the cool kids were crossing their arms over their crotches and yelling, “Suck it!

Today, such affinity for D-Generation X would likely lead to some sexual assault charges, but at the time every young male was obsessed with Triple-H, Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock. The WWE has maintained its relevance since my adolescence as the organization has gone public on the New York Stock Exchange with annual revenues north of $500 million.

Last year, live event merchandise sales accounted for $19.4 million, or roughly 4 percent, of the WWE’s total revenues. Accordingly, it is no wonder that the WWE recently fought all the way to the Fifth Circuit to shield those millions of dollars from unauthorized merchandise sellers.

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New Jersey Appellate Courts Issue Game-Changing Rulings on Tort Liability In Youth Sports

As seen on ATL Redline.

Sport is often referred to as a mirror of a society.

In New Jersey, the appellate court has recently used sports to reflect modern principles of tort liability. Within the past two weeks, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued two significant rulings for civil practitioners to study.

The Court’s findings clarified that it is not unreasonable for a baseball field to lack protective fencing for spectators along the base paths and that there is no tort liability for a child who injures another child during a youth sporting event.

The opinions in Brigante v. Board of Education and C.J.R. v. G.A. involve distinct torts issues, but both bolster a defendant’s ability to avoid liability when injuries occur at sporting events.

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Disability Insurance Takes Center Stage As Athletes’ Income Grows

Georgia star running back Todd Gurley tore his ACL just months before cashing in as a potential 1st round NFL draft pick. Fortunately, he has a $10 million disability insurance policy.

Wearing Alabama gear to an Auburn house during the Iron Bowl is risky.

Playing a contact sport without disability insurance is just plain dumb. Fortunately, as athletes’ salaries and endorsement deals skyrocket, more and more of the top performers are wising up to the value of purchasing disability policies.

Recently, many college football fans watched in horror as Georgia star running back and projected top-10 NFL draft pick, Todd Gurley suffered a season-ending knee injury. Decades ago, Gurley’s injury might have spelled financial and life disaster. However, thanks to recent NCAA rule changes, athletes like Gurley can purchase various disability policies either by borrowing against their projected future earnings or through their school directly.

Insurance policies, however, might as well be written in Klingon. So to better explain the ins and outs of insurance, we called in the big guns. Attorney Frank Darras has spent his life fighting insurance companies. He is one of the top disability lawyers in the nation and has won nearly $1 billion for his clients. His firm, DarrasLaw has seen, evaluated, litigated, and resolved more disability and long-term care cases than any firm in the United States.

So yea, he knows a thing or two about disability policies and how they play a huge role in college and professional athletics.

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