Thursday, November 20, 2014

Opponents of N.F.L. Concussion Settlement Make Case for Altering It -

Chris Seeger, class action plaintiffs lawyer
Opponents of N.F.L. Concussion Settlement Make Case for Altering It -

by Ken Belson

PHILADELPHIA — After hundreds of court filings over the past 16 months, opponents of the preliminary settlement between the N.F.L. and the 5,000 former players who sued the league for hiding the dangers of concussions urged a federal judge on Wednesday to alter key parts of the deal.
In a daylong hearing in front of Judge Anita B. Brody of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, lawyers for the handful of retired players who object to the settlement complained that only players who died with chronic traumatic encephalopathy during a small window of years will be eligible to receive a cash award.
Only players who were found to have C.T.E., a degenerative neurological disease, before July, when the settlement was preliminarily approved, would be eligible for up to $4 million. Anyone found to have C.T.E. thereafter would get nothing.

“This is an insidious disease that deserves action,” said Steven Molo, a lawyer for several former players who object to the deal, which includes up to $5 million for players with severe neurological problems.
Molo and other objectors said that the settlement covers only a handful of serious illnesses, like Parkinson’s disease and severe dementia, and that the formula that provides more money to younger players and those with more N.F.L. experience was arbitrary.
Some of the lawyers who spoke for the objectors also said that the tests that players will have to take to be paid were biased against those with less education and were designed to prevent players from receiving an award.

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