NFL Agrees to $765 Million Settlement with Retired Players in Concussion Lawsuit

The NFL has agreed to pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by more than 4,000 pro-football retirees with advanced dementia and other problems as well as the families of players who have died from what they claimed were the long-terms effects of head trauma.
To put that into perspective, $756 million divided by 4,000 players equals roughly about $191,250 a player.

According to the NY Times:

United District Court Judge Anita B. Brody, from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said Thursday that she was informed by Layn Phillips, a court-appointed mediator, that the money would be used for medical exams, concussion-related compensation and a program of medical research for retired players and their families. The N.F.L. also agreed to pay legal fees.

Brody still must approve the settlement, which has yet to be filed. The N.F.L. has denied that it deliberately misled players about head injuries and that it relied on the best science available at the time to create its policies on concussions. It also argued that the collective bargaining agreements signed by the league and its players union should govern any disputes, not the courts.

The proposed settlement heads off the need for a lengthy and potentially revealing discovery phase, in which league officials and doctors would likely have been deposed.

Brody was originally expected to rule on the league’s motion to dismiss in July, three months after she heard oral arguments by the lawyers representing both sides. Instead, she appointed a mediator to work with the league and the plaintiffs to see if a settlement could be reached out of court before she ruled. Mediators do not make binding rulings, but instead try to cajole the participants to narrow their differences.

The N.F.L., legal experts said, still must clarify how much of any settlement its insurance companies will cover. Several of them have argued in court that they do not have to indemnify the N.F.L. because of the policies they wrote. A lawyer representing Alterra America Insurance, which wrote one policy for one year for the N.F.L., told the judge that a settlement could cost $2.5 billion, a figure some legal experts considered conservative. The league and the plaintiffs had to consider their mounting legal bills.

The first concussion-related cases against the N.F.L. and Riddell, the helmet manufacturer, were filed more than two years ago and were consolidated in federal court in Pennsylvania to streamline their adjudication. The docket, which includes more than 5,000 filings, has ballooned to include cases brought by a raft of retirees who played decades ago, including stars like Eric Dickerson and Tony Dorsett. Some claim to have debilitating illnesses like advanced dementia, while others have symptoms that they fear may worsen without adequate medical monitoring.

We’re glad these families are being compensated. Dealing with mental illness of a loved one is devastating.

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