Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Concussion case by NFL players heads to Mediation

A federal case brought by former National Football League players that accuses the league of hiding dangers of concussions has been ordered to mediation. A pending motion to dismiss the case will be taken under advisement until September, giving the mediator time to bring the sides closer together. United States District Court Judge Anita Brody of Pennsylvania, ordered a retired federal judge to serve as mediator in the case. Players have charged that the league concealed for decades what it knew about the long-term effects of repeated hits to the head. The NFL maintains it issued warnings consistent with medical research available at the time. Additionally, the league contends player safety is governed by collective bargaining agreements. Each side has made strong arguments, but there is incentive to settle early. Though the owners have greater ability to absorb legal fees, discovery over a period of years could unearth evidence that might hurt the league’s reputation. Likewise, retired players, many of whom have significant health concerns, may prefer to settle sooner for less. Without a ruling, the scope of the case remains wide, involving players from decades ago, as well as those who retired recently. “Presumably, the [mediator] is experienced and he can give both sides an appraisal of the case from the perspective of someone who’s sat on the bench,” said Matthew Mitten, director of Marquette University's National Sports Law Institute. “It doesn’t hurt to take a step back and take a reality check.” See full article here-- http://nyti.ms/1bkQYmL