Friday, April 24, 2015

Court Approves NFL Concussion Settlement

After the first deal was rejected by the trial court just over a year ago, a second deal doing away with a $675 million cap on the fund from which injured former players would draw was reached. Reportedly, the National Football League (NFL) projects 6,000 of some 20,000 retired football players will suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's disease. The approved settlement could payout more than $1 billion. Plaintiffs lawyers not involved in negotiations on the second deal may still appeal over previously expressed concerns about the settlement terms. One attempt to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit failed last fall, with that court declining to exercise jurisdiction on review of an order granting or denying class certification. The issue on appeal involved preliminary approval of the settlement and granting conditional certification of the class for settlement purposes. Even now that approval of the settlement is final, it could be appealed which would delay benefits to eligible players. Failure to compensate players with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is the primary objection to the deal which only compensates for CTE if the player has died. The case faced significant legal hurdles at the start that could have landed the case in arbitration instead of federal court. At the outset, the district judge signaled a preference for settlement of the case, believing that the interests of all parties would be best served by a negotiated resolution. The settlement has been characterized as avoiding litigating thousands of complex individual claims over many years and providing immediate relief and support. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and team owners claim they wanted to "do the right thing" for former players with neurological conditions who believe their problems stem from on-field concussions. The lawsuit accused the league of hiding known risks of concussions for decades to return players to games and protect its image. See more here-- and settlement info here-- and and