O'Bannon vs. NCAA: Judge allows former players to amend complaint, add current player

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

The federal judge in charge of the "likeness" lawsuit handed down an expected decision Friday.

United States District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled Friday that former players who have sued the NCAA over alleged improper use of their likenesses will be allowed to amend their complaint and add a current player as a party, according to a report from USA Today.

Judge Wilken's ruling was widely expected following a June 20 hearing on class certification, where the judge told the players' attorneys that a current player would have to be added to the suit. Friday's order gives the players two weeks to amend their complaint.

Motions to amend are frequently granted, especially in the early stages of litigation where the parties have ample time to respond to those amendments. During the June 20 hearing, counsel for the NCAA identified a number of potential issues with the original complaint filed by the players' lawyers. Wilken said the defects could be fixed through an amended complaint. Friday's order, allowing the players' attorneys to amend "only the minimum amount necessary to conform Antitrust Plaintiffs' portion of the complaint to their class certification motion and to respond to the potential deficiencies identified by Defendants in the briefing and hearing thereon," should do precisely that.

There is no mention in Friday's order of whether the amended complaint will have to actually name the current athlete included. Lawyers for the players indicated on June 20 they would move to keep the current player's identity secret to avoid any potential disciplinary action by the NCAA or the player's school, a request the NCAA is sure to resist.

Judge Wilken's key ruling on class certification is still not expected until late summer or early autumn.

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