Monday, January 6, 2014

NFL, Lawyers Submit Proposed Settlement for Court Approval in Concussion Injury Litigation

Proposed class counsel have submitted for approval the agreement negotiated by them for a proposed `opt-out' class of former NFL players.  The $760 million deal must win the approval of Judge Anita Brody, of the federal District Court in Philadelphia.  The proposed settlement and memorandum of law are HERE.  (358 pp) Players who do not opt out are included in the class and would be bound by its terms. The process of obtaining court approval (FRCP 23) is likely to be contentious.
Paul Anderson, a plaintiff's lawyer who writes  NFL Concussion Litigation blog, says "Basically, the NFL is paying a fee to make the lawyers go away – many of them took the bait. I decided that the fight must go on." Last month Anderson, representing a group of former players (1987-1993) critical of the proposal, filed suit directly against the Kansas City Chiefs.  Since Missouri workers comp law does not cover occupational disease claims a tort action against the employer is not barred.  The complaint in that action - Cooper, et al v. KC Chiefs - can be found HERE.  Since they are all retired players their action presumably conflicts with the proposed class action.

Another group - the Brain Injury Association of America has asked the Court to appoint it as a party amicus  to advise the court on fairness, particularly regarding the proposed provision for ongoing medical research.  - gwc

The proposed notice to class members summarizes the terms:

$760 Million NFL Concussion Litigation Settlement

Retired NFL Football Players May Be Eligible for Money and Medical Benefits
A federal court authorized this notice.  This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.

The National Football League ("NFL") and NFL Properties LLC (collectively "NFL Parties") have agreed  to  a  $760  million   Settlement   of  a  class  action  lawsuit   seeking  medical  monitoring  and compensation for brain injuries al1egedly caused by head impacts experienced in NFL footbal1. The NFL Parties deny that they did anything wrong.

The Settlement inc1udes all retired players of the NFL, the American Football League  ("AFL")  that merged with the NFL, the World League of American Football,  NFL Europe League and NFL Europa League as well as immediate family members of retired players and legal  representatives  of incapacitated incompetent or  deceased  retired  players.

The Settlement will provide  eligible retired  players  with:

Baseline neuropsychological and neurological exams to determine if retired players are:  a) currently suffering from any neurocognitive impairment including impairment serious enough for compensation and b) eligible for additional testing and/or treatment ($75 million);

Monetary   awards  for  diagnoses   of  ALS  (Lou  Gehrig's  disease), Parkinson’s   Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, early  and  moderate  Dementia  and  certain  cases  of chronic  traumatic  encephalopathy (CTE) (a neuropathological finding) diagnosed  after death ($675 million); and

Education  programs  promoting  safety  and  injury  prevention   with  respect  to  football players including  safety-related  initiatives  in youth  football, the  education  of retired  players  regarding  the NFL' s medical  and  disability programs  and  other  educational  programs  and  initiatives  ($10 million)
To get money proof that injuries were caused by playing NFL football is not required.

Settlement Class Members must register to get benefits. Sign up at the website for notification of the registration date.

Your legal rights are affected even if you do nothing.  Please read this Notice carefully.

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