Payouts for college athletes from EA Sports lawsuit to be distributed soon – USA TODAY
A legal agreement reached late Friday night means current and former college athletes who are entitled to shares of the $60 million in settlements related to use of their names, images and likenesses in video games could begin seeing checks within about 60 days, a lawyer involved with the case told USA TODAY Sports.
Distribution of the settlement money was being delayed by objections from former football player Darrin Duncan and former basketball player Nathan Harris, who had asked the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals to overturn U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilkenâs final approval of the settlements in August.
On Friday night, the sides filed a notice with the 9th Circuit that the objectors were voluntarily asking for dismissal of the appeal.
âThis opens the way for the implementation of the (settlement) agreement,â said Robert Carey, one of the lead plaintiffsâ attorneys in cases brought, variously, against the NCAA, video-game manufacturer Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Co., by former Nebraska and Arizona State football player Sam Keller, former UCLA basketball player Ed OâBannon and former Rutgers football player Ryan Hart.
According to court filings made by the plaintiffs in conjunction with the objectorsâ appeal, nearly 29,200 timely claims were made for money from the settlement pool, which will be about $40 million after lawyersâ fees and other costs. So far nearly 23,200 of the claims have been determined to be valid, the filings said, although that number could increase as claimants have the opportunity to object to the amounts for which they are eligible under a formula that takes into a variety of factors.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers have said many athletes could get at least $1,000 from the settlement pool and some could receive as much as $7,200. Carey said checks should be going out on the claims “within 60 days, probably sooner.â
Absent the 9th Circuitâs willingness to expedite a decision, theÂ civil case of Duncan and Harris couldÂ have taken 18 months to two years to be decided.
Lawyers representing the plaintiffs have been managing the settlement claims process, and they vigorously opposed the objectorsâ appeal. The tactics included a request for monetary sanctions against the objectorsâ lawyers for allegedly acting in bad faith for, among other actions, seeking a combined total of $270,000 to drop the appeal â money that, according to court filings, the objectorsâ lawyers said they would not be sharing with their clients.
âThere was a settlement,â Carey said. He declined to provide the terms but said the objectors âwere not dealing from a position of strengthâ and âin the best interests of the (video-games settlement) class, it was not a hard deal to make.â
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