NCAA/EA Video Games Name and Likeness Litigation

DEFENDANT NAME: National Collegiate Athletic Association and Electronic Arts, Inc.
STOCK SYMBOL: NASDAQ: EA
CASE NUMBER: 4:09-cv-01967 (Keller), 4:09-cv-03329 (O'Bann
CASE NAME:
COURT: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
STATUS: Settled
CLASS PERIOD:
LEAD PLAINTIFF DEADLINE:
DATE FILED: 05/05/09
COURT LOCATION:
CONTACT:
206-623-7292

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro filed a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA and Electronic Arts, Inc. claiming the companies illegally use college football and basketball players' names and likenesses in video games without permission or consent from the player.

The suit claims using a player's name, picture or likeness violates contracts and licensing agreements in NCAA bylaws. Despite these prohibitions, the NCAA allegedly condones the use of players's name and likeness in EA games to increase popularity and ultimately increase revenues and profits, the suit claims.

Players claim the NCAA and EA conspired to permit the use of NCAA players for their own monetary gain and without compensation to players. In contrast, Electronic Arts paid the NFL Players Union nearly $35 million each year for the use of players' names and likenesses in NFL games.

The name and likeness litigation suit was filed by Sam Keller, a former starting quarterback for ASU and Univ. of Nebraska football teams, represents all NCAA football and basketball players listed on the official opening-day roster of a school whose team was included in any game produced by Electronic Arts, and whose assigned jersey number appears on a virtual player in the software.

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Samuel Keller et al. v. Electronic Arts Inc. et al, case number 4:09-cv-01967
O'Bannon Jr. et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association et al., case number 4:09-cv-03329


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04/13/16: Deadline for Tax Forms in EA/NCAA Video Game Settlement Extended

The deadline for W-9 forms has been extended to April 20, 2016. Claimants who have not already submitted their W-9 information can email Hagens Berman partner, Leonard Aragon, for more info.

Claimants may also download a Form W-9 from the IRS website, fill it out and email it to info@ncaa-ea-likeness-settlement.com.  

More information can be found at www.ncaa-ea-likeness-settlement.com, by emailing info@ncaa-ea-likeness-settlement.com or by calling 1-888-283-5733.

07/31/15: Claims Period Ended

07/23/14: Final Settlements Filed

The Keller and O'Bannon parties filed final paperwork in federal court adjusting their respective settlements to create one claims process. In merging the settlements, the cap on the amount student-athletes can receive in the settlement was removed. Without a cap, student-athletes who participate will receive a proportional share of the $60 million fund based on variables, including the number of video games in which they appeared. more »

06/05/14: NCAA Announces No Student Punishment

The NCAA announces current college players will not be punished for collecting part of the settlement. more »

06/03/14: Preliminary Approved Settlement

Attorneys reach preliminary approved settlement with Electronic Arts. more »

09/26/13: Settlement Reached

A settlement has been reached between the Hagens Berman and other attorneys representing the plaintiffs and Electronic Arts. The terms of the settlement are confidential, pending disclosure to the court.

02/08/10: Motion to Dismiss Denied

Recent developments surfaced this week in a class-action lawsuit against NCAA and Electronic Arts (EA). U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken denied the motion made by Electronic Arts and NCAA to dismiss the case. The class-action lawsuit will move forward and the two companies will need to prove they did not use college players' likeness in its NCAA-branded gaming franchise.

EA unsuccessfully argued protection under the first amendment and the freedom of creative expression over the highly successful NCAA-branded video games. However, Judge Wilken rejected the gaming company's argument, siding that allegations made by plaintiff Samuel Keller, former quarterback for Arizona State University, have merit.

01/15/10: HBSS Appointed Co-Lead Cousel

Today, Judge Claudia Wilken appointed Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro as co-lead class counsel for the lawsuit against Electronic Arts and NCAA which claims the companies used college players' likeness in NCAA-branded video games. Judge Claudia Wilken ordered Hagans Berman and its co-lead counsel Hausfeld to direct the litigation among co-counsel. The Court also consolidated plaintiffs represented in the lawsuit against the two companies.