Tiff Over NCAA|Settlement Dropped

     (CN) – Two college athletes on Monday dropped their appeals of two settlements totaling $60 million with Electronic Arts and the National College Athletic Associate, over the use of student-athletes’ names, images and likenesses in various games.
     In return, the class of student-athletes dropped their bid for sanctions against the attorneys for objector Nathan Harris, a former NCAA Division I basketball player.
     Class attorney Robert Carey with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro told Courthouse News that there was a confidential settlement between the parties “and subsequent to that the appeals and motions were withdrawn.”
     The settlements stem from two separate lawsuits filed in 2009 by former student-athletes Sam Keller and Ed O’Bannon against the NCAA, EA Games and Collegiate Licensing Company. EA and Collegiate Licensing reached a $40 million settlement with both sets of plaintiffs in 2013 and the NCAA reached a $20 million settlement with the Keller plaintiffs in June.
     Harris and Darrin Duncan, a current football player at an NCAA Division I school, had asked U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken to reject the settlements in part because they felt that the fees class counsel was requesting were excessive and unreasonable.
     After Wilken granted final approval to the settlements earlier this year, Duncan filed a notice of appeal in the O’Bannon case to the Ninth Circuit and Harris filed his notice of appeal in the Keller case.
     The class plaintiffs said they tried to meet with Nathan Harris’s attorney, Scott Kron of Kron & Card LLP, to discuss the posting of a bond while the objectors appealed the settlements. The class plaintiffs said that during a phone call, Kron refused to discuss an amount and instead claimed that his client could not afford to post the requested $88,389 bond.
     Class plaintiffs alleged in court documents filed in October that during the meeting, Kron “became extremely agitated and loud,” referred to the approved settlements as “a piece of shit settlement,” and repeatedly attacked class counsel by calling them “fuckers.”
     The class sought sanctions against Kron for breaches of “decorum and professionalism” and for refusing to meet and confer in good faith. They asked the court to require Kron to pay reasonable attorney fees for the time spent engaging in the meet-and-confer and in preparing the sanctions petition.
     As part of the parties’ recent agreement, the class dropped the bid for sanctions and the objectors dropped their appeals on Monday.
     Carey said that he hopes “this clears the way for the benefits of the settlement to flow to the athletes within 60 to 75 days.”
     Kron did not immediately respond to an email request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

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