Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Livers v. National Collegiate Athletic Association

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 25, 2018

LAWRENCE "POPPY" LIVERS, on his own behalf and on behalf of similarly situated persons
v.
NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION, a/k/a the NCAA, and VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY

          MEMORANDUM RE: MOTION TO DISMISS AMENDED COMPLAINT

          BAYLSON, J.

         Plaintiff “Poppy” Livers seeks damages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for his performance on the Villanova University football team. Plaintiff Livers alleges that he was employed by Defendants National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) and Villanova University throughout his participation as a Scholarship Athlete on the Villanova football team, and that Defendants' refusal to compensate him for his work was in violation of the minimum wage provision of the FLSA. In his original Complaint Plaintiff also included several other NCAA-member schools as Defendants. This Court dismissed the Complaint against those Defendants with prejudice, and Plaintiff has since filed an Amended Complaint against the NCAA and Villanova. Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted, filed jointly by Defendants the NCAA and Villanova. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' Motion will be denied.

         I. Summary of Allegations

         Plaintiff Livers was a Scholarship Athlete on the Villanova University Football roster during the academic year 2014-15. (Amended Complaint ¶ 201.) In the Memorandum on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the original Complaint this Court reviewed the allegations contained in the original Complaint in detail. (ECF No. 47 at 3-12.) The Memorandum reviewed facts alleged by Plaintiff on the topic of his participation as a Scholarship Athlete on the Villanova football team; the details regarding Athletic Scholarships, including comparisons to academic scholarships and work study programs; comparing the details of Scholarship Athletes and students involved in student-run groups; and on the topic of NCAA member school agreements regarding Scholarship Athletes.

         The Amended Complaint makes many of the same allegations made in the original Complaint. The Court will not repeat its summary here, but instead refers to the Summary of Allegations included in the Memorandum on the Motion to Dismiss the original Complaint.

         The Amended Complaint includes several new allegations that were not in the original Complaint. Plaintiff alleges that most Scholarship Athletes are substantially economically dependent upon athletic scholarships-specifically the non-cash benefits they provide, including tuition, fees, books, and room and board valued at tens of thousands of dollars for each year of eligibility/participation in NCAA sports. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 89-90.) Plaintiff was personally economically dependent upon his Athletic Scholarship while attending Villanova. (Id. ¶ 92.)

         Plaintiff alleges that for over a decade a debate has been ongoing regarding the employee status of Scholarship Athletes. (Id. ¶ 109.) Throughout this debate, college administrators, athletic directors, and coaches have publicly asserted various reasons for the refusal of NCAA member schools to pay Scholarship Athletes. (Id. ¶ 110.) Not once during this debate has a college administrator, athletic director, or coach ever professed reliance upon the guidance provided in the Department of Labor's (“DOL”) Field Operations Handbook (“FOH”) Section 10b03(e) as a reason for the refusal of NCAA member schools to pay Scholarship Athletes. (Id. ¶ 111.) Plaintiff alleges that Section 10b03(e) states, in relevant part:

As part of their overall educational program, public or private schools and institutions of higher learning may permit or require students to engage in activities in connection with dramatics, student publications, glee clubs, bands, choirs, debating teams, radio stations, intramurals and interscholastic athletics and other similar endeavors. Activities of students in such programs, conducted primarily for the benefit of the participants as a part of the educational opportunities provided to the students by the school or institution, are not work of the kind contemplated by section 3(g) of the Act and do not result in an employer-employee relationship between the student and the school or institution.

(Id. ¶ 112.)

         Plaintiff alleges that NCAA Member Schools, including Villanova, publish student-run group directories on their websites, and that NCAA sports are excluded from these directories. (Id. ¶¶ 117, 121; Am. Compl. Ex. M at 5.) In addition, NCAA member schools expressly distinguish, in published material on their websites, NCAA sports from student-run groups, such as student-run interscholastic club sports. (Id. ¶ 122.) Plaintiff alleges that in light of these considerations-as well as allegations repeated from the original Complaint comparing and contrasting student athletes to students involved in work study programs (Id. ¶¶ 95-101) and students involved in student-run groups (Id. ¶¶ 102-108)-it is clear that NCAA member schools understood that Scholarship Athletes are directly comparable to students employed by NCAA member schools in work study programs. (Id. ¶ 126.)

         II. Procedural History

         On September 26, 2017 Plaintiff filed the original Complaint (ECF No. 1). All Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint on December 28, 2017 (ECF No. 23 & ECF No. 24). On May 17, 2018 the Court dismissed Plaintiff's claim against all Defendants other than Villanova University and the NCAA with prejudice, and dismissed the claim against these two parties without prejudice and with leave to amend (ECF No. 47 & ECF No. 48). Plaintiff filed a Motion for Reconsideration on May 22, 2018 (ECF No. 49), which the Court denied.

         Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint against Defendants Villanova and the NCAA on May 30, 2018 (ECF No. 53) stating one cause of action for violation of the Minimum Wage Provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act:

Violation of 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., specifically, failing to compensate Plaintiff and members of the putative class pursuant to the minimum wage provisions set out in 29 U.S.C. § 206(a).

         Villanova and the NCAA together filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint on June 13, 2018 (ECF No. 57). Plaintiff responded on June 22, 2018 (ECF No. 63), and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.