Mass tort lawyer of the year joins team representing former student-athlete.
HOUSTON – Noted courtroom attorney Mark Lanier of the The Lanier Law Firm has joined the trial team representing former Rutgers University quarterback Ryan Hart in a closely watched right-to-publicity lawsuit against video game publisher EA Sports.
Mr. Hart is seeking compensation for the unapproved use of his likeness and physical description in a series of EA Sports’ popular “NCAA Football” video games, which include depictions of more than 100 college teams and thousands of college athletes. The Hart case is among three similar lawsuits filed against EA Sports.
In May, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that a jury should decide whether EA Sports violated Mr. Hart’s right to control the commercial use of his image.
In addition to Mr. Lanier, Mr. Hart’s legal team also is adding accomplished Professor Arthur R. Miller, the respected attorney and scholar from the New York University School of Law who also serves as Chairman of The NYU Sports & Society Program. Together, they will support the ongoing efforts of Mr. Hart’s lead trial attorney, Tim McIlwain, who filed the original lawsuit in 2009.
“I am really looking forward to working with the Lanier Law Firm, whose attorneys represents the ‘gold standard’ in the legal community,” says Mr. Mcllwain, who maintains offices in Hoboken and Atlantic City, N.J. “I firmly believe that we are prepared to finish the drive on behalf of the college athletes in this case.”
“Tim McIlwain has done a remarkable job for Ryan and, by extension, many other student-athletes, and we’re proud to be joining him,” says Mr. Lanier. “It is clear that EA Sports has used the identities of many student-athletes for profit, without their permission. We look forward to working with Tim in adding additional plaintiffs to cover every year the game was made, as well as one or more current student-athletes depicted in the latest version of the game.”
The case is Ryan Hart, et al. v. Electronic Arts Inc., No. 11-3750, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Earlier this year, The Lanier Law Firm was one of only four firms in the country named “Top Tier Firms” for class-action mass tort cases in the 2013 edition of The Legal 500. Mr. Lanier also was recognized in 2013 as one of the nation’s Top 10 trial attorneys by The National Law Journal, and he previously was recognized as the top class-action lawyer in Houston by the publishers of The Best Lawyers in America.