Not Perfect, But Fair

Monday’s Appeals Court ruling endorsing the settlement of the concussion lawsuit may finally put a seal on the long legal battle and bring relief to suffering former players

The Appeals Court decision came almost a year after the final approval of the settlement.

The NFL’s leading voice on player health and safety, Jeff Miller, can exhale. His admission in front of a Congressional roundtable in March that there is a link between playing football and contracting CTE did not affect the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ review of the NFL concussion litigation settlement, a deal that was affirmed by the appellate court on Monday. The court’s endorsement concludes, for the moment, a long and winding process toward final resolution of the lawsuit by thousands of former NFL players and, will lead, eventually, to checks being sent out to retired players suffering various levels of cognitive and physical distress.

This settlement was first reached between the NFL and the plaintiffs a couple of years ago, although Judge Anita Brody rejected the $765 million cap on the total payout. Judge Brody then fashioned a more agreeable settlement without a cap although still based on a “grid” concept that awards compensation based on a formula calculating a player’s age, symptoms and NFL service. Final approval of that settlement came almost exactly a year ago, on April 22, 2015. However, a small number of players “opted out” of the settlement, and part of that group—termed the “Objectors” in the legal documents—appealed to the Third Circuit. After hearing the arguments in November, and noting Miller’s comments in March, the Court endorsed the settlement on Monday.

The opinion reads as a homily to the NFL and the plaintiff attorneys for recognizing that there has been suffering from its game and for doing something about it, in the form of this compensatory system for retired players. It calls the settlement “not perfect, but fair” and one that is “a testament to players, researchers and advocates who have worked to expose true human costs of a sport so many love.” The NFL, which has been trying to put this settlement to bed for years, had to have been pleased with the language.As for Miller’s admission of a link between football and CTE, there were some in the league who were worried that it could have ripple effects as the court deliberated on the settlement. When I remarked on ESPN that I thought it would not affect the settlement, a team president texted me “I hope you’re right about that.” Fortunately for the league, and as I noted at the time, the court stood by Judge Brody’s comments that while CTE was not covered in the settlement due to it not being diagnosable prior to death, its symptoms—depression, dementia, etc.—were compensable through other diagnosed illnesses. The court also bought in to the NFL’s version of Miller’s acknowledgement—as opposed to the Jerry Jones or Jim Irsay version—that it was merely “conceding something already known.” Having said that, the language does speak to an “unavoidable conclusion” of a link.

As to the reasons why the retired players—save for the few who have opted out—settled in the first place, they are the same they have always been. First, pursuing litigation against the league would take years upon years, with the NFL delaying and creating great costs for the plaintiffs. Second, there would be countless adversarial and uncomfortable depositions of players and their families, not only probing into football played at lower levels but also asking questions about other injuries and habits that could be seen as having causal links to the player’s ailments. And perhaps most importantly, there were players suffering greatly, such as the now-deceased Kevin Turner, who needed financial assistance as soon as possible—although not soon enough for Turner. Now, assuming no lingering appeals by the Objectors—whether to the Third Circuit en banc (as a whole) or to the United States Supreme Court—the checks will, we think, start coming soon.

Retired N.F.L. Players Appeal Ruling on Concussion Settlement

Nearly a dozen retired N.F.L. players have asked the entire United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to consider hearing their arguments against the settlement between the league and thousands of former players who said the N.F.L. hid the dangers of concussions.

Last week, a three-judge panel in the Third Circuit resoundingly affirmed the approval of the settlement, which provides up to $5 million to individual players with severe neurological diseases.

Some of the players who objected to the settlement are now asking the larger panel of appeals court judges to hear their plea, which focuses primarily on how chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease, is treated in the settlement. In the deal, only the heirs of players who died from 2006 to April 2015 and were found to have had the disease can receive cash payments of up to $4 million.

No money will be paid out until all appeals are exhausted.

Christopher Seeger, a lead lawyer for the main group of players, urged the court not to hear the appeal because it would further delay getting payments to players in need.

“This meritless appeal carries devastating consequences for the thousands of retired N.F.L. players suffering from neurocognitive injuries, and those concerned about their future,” he said in a statement, “as they will be forced to wait even longer for the immediate care and support they need and deserve.”

The N.F.L. declined to comment on the petition.

Legal experts consider the appeal for a hearing by the full appeals court a long shot because the three-judge panel overwhelmingly affirmed the original district court opinion.

Appeals Court Affirms Landmark N.F.L. Concussion Settlement

By: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Nearly three years ago, the N.F.L. and lawyers for thousands of retired football players agreed on a deal to compensate all former players who had neurological diseases linked to repeated hits to the head, helping the league to move on from one of the most contentious issues facing the nation’s most popular sport.

But it took an appellate court ruling Monday to affirm the deal, which potentially provides retirees up to $5 million each, and all but closed the door on future challenges by players in the matter.

As much as the debate continues in the court of public opinion on whether football is safe and whether the league has done enough to make it so, the court of law has decided that the league can be on the hook for damages only in a limited way.

In a 69-page ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit here unambiguously upheld a district court’s approval of the deal, over the objections of some players who had argued that the terms were too restrictive and would not take care of many players who developed serious neurological problems over time.

The appellate judges, sitting in Philadelphia, acknowledged the objectors’ points but turned them aside because they found that the settlement benefited the greater good among players.

“They risk making the perfect the enemy of the good,” the court said of the players who objected that the settlement was too restrictive. “This settlement will provide nearly $1 billion in value to the class of retired players. It is a testament to the players, researchers and advocates who have worked to expose the true human costs of a sport so many love. Though not perfect, it is fair.”

The appellants can still ask a larger panel of judges at the Third Circuit to hear their appeal, or they can solicit the Supreme Court. But both challenges appear to be long shots because the appeals court ruled overwhelmingly to affirm, legal experts say.

Alex Karras, Former NFL Lineman, Actor, Dies at 77

ABC News
Associated Press

Alex Karras was a man of many roles.

Fearsome NFL defensive lineman. Lovable TV dad. Hilarious big-screen cowboy.

And in the end, a dementia victim who blamed the NFL for his illness along with thousands of former players in lawsuits accusing the league of not doing enough to protect them from the long-term effects of head injuries.

The 77-year-old Karras, who managed to be tough, touching and tragic in the span of a lifetime, died Wednesday at his Los Angeles home surrounded by family members, said Craig Mitnick, Karras’ attorney.

Karras was one of the NFL’s most ferocious — and best — defensive tackles for the Detroit Lions from 1958-70, bulling past offensive lineman and hounding quarterbacks.

The charismatic bruiser went into acting after his football career, and in his signature scene dropped a horse with a punch as the soft-hearted outlaw Mongo in the 1974 comedy “Blazing Saddles.” He also portrayed the father in the 1980s sitcom “Webster,” along with his actress-wife Susan Clark, and was in the “Monday Night Football” broadcast booth along the way.

“Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex,” Lions president Tom Lewand said.

Born in Gary, Ind., Karras starred for four years at Iowa and was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Detroit drafted him with the 10th overall pick in 1958, and he was a three-time All-Pro defensive tackle over 12 seasons with the franchise.

He was the heart of the Lions’ defensive front that terrorized quarterbacks. The Lions handed the champion Green Bay Packers their only defeat in 1962, a 26-14 upset on Thanksgiving during which they harassed quarterback Bart Starr constantly.

Packers guard Jerry Kramer wrote in his diary of the 1967 season about his trepidation over having to face Karras.

“I’m thinking about him every minute,” Kramer wrote.

Karras was All-Pro in 1960, 1961 and 1965, and he made the Pro Bowl four times. He was recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a defensive tackle on the All-Decade Team of the 1960s and retired from the NFL in 1970 at age 35.

But Karras also had run-ins with the NFL long before his lawsuit. He missed the 1963 season when he was suspended by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in a gambling probe. Karras insisted he only wagered cigarettes or cigars with close friends.

“Alex Karras was an outstanding player during a time when the NFL emerged as America’s favorite sport,” the league said in a statement. “He will always be remembered as one of the most colorful characters in NFL history.”

For all his prowess as a player, Karras may have gained more fame as an actor.

He had already become known through George Plimpton’s behind-the-scenes book “Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback,” about what it was like to be an NFL player in Detroit.

Karras and Plimpton remained friends for life, and one of Karras’ sons is named after the author. Karras played himself alongside Alan Alda in the successful movie adaptation of the book, and that opened doors for Karras to be an analyst with Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford on “Monday Night Football.”

In Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles,” Karras played a not-so-bright, rough-around-the-edges outlaw who not only slugged a horse but also delivered the classic line: “Mongo only pawn in game of life.”

In the 1980s, he played a sheriff in the comedy “Porky’s” and became a hit on TV as Emmanuel Lewis’ adoptive father, George Papadapolis, in the sitcom “Webster.”

“I had a very heavy heart this morning and I did not know why. I understand now,” Lewis said. “Rest in peace, my friend.”

Karras also had roles in “Against All Odds” and “Victor/Victoria.” He portrayed the husband of famed female athlete “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias in the TV movie that starred Clark in the title role. The two later formed their own production company.

Clark has said that Karras started to show signs of dementia more than a dozen years ago, and she said his quality of life had deteriorated because of head injuries sustained during his playing career. He could no longer drive and couldn’t remember recipes for some of the favorite Italian and Greek dishes he used to cook, she said.

In April, he became the lead plaintiff in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. He is among about 3,500 retired football players who accuse the league of not protecting them better from head injuries.

“This physical beating that he took as a football player has impacted his life, and therefore it has impacted his family life,” Clark told the AP earlier this year. “He is interested in making the game of football safer and hoping that other families of retired players will have a healthier and happier retirement.”

The NFL maintains that it did not intentionally seek to mislead players and says it has taken action to better protect players and advance the science of concussion management and treatment.

“It’s an ironic tragedy that Alex had to live with devastating effects from playing the game he loved,” Mitnick said.

He said the NFL on Aug. 30 filed a motion to dismiss all the players’ actions, and the plaintiffs’ response is due Oct. 30.

Mitnick said the family hasn’t decided whether to donate Karras’ brain for study, as other families have done. The family released a

statement listing his other ailments as kidney failure, which recently hospitalized him, stomach cancer and heart disease.

Karras later wrote an autobiography, “Even Big Guys Cry,” and two other books, “Alex Karras’ and “Tuesday Night Football.”

In addition to Clark, his wife of 37 years, he is survived by their daughter and his four children from his first marriage to the late Joan Powell.

AP Sports Columnist Tim Dahlberg, AP Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich and AP Television Writer Frazier Moore contributed to this report.

———

NFL great Alex Karras dies

ESPN
DETROIT — Alex Karras was one of the NFL’s most feared defensive tackles throughout the 1960s, a player who hounded quarterbacks and bulled past opposing linemen.

And yet, to many people he will always be the lovable dad from the 1980s sitcom “Webster” or the big cowboy who famously punched out a horse in “Blazing Saddles.”

More from ESPN.com

ClaytonNot only was Alex Karras a great NFL player, but his outsized personality and humor endeared him to those who didn’t know him as a football player, John Clayton writes. Story

SeifertKarras transcended football in a way that didn’t often happen for players of his era, and in many ways he paved the way for the celebrity status current players enjoy, Kevin Seifert writes. Blog

The rugged player, who anchored the Detroit Lions’ defense and then made a successful transition to an acting career with a stint along the way as a commentator on “Monday Night Football,” died Wednesday. He was 77.

Karras had recently suffered kidney failure and been diagnosed with dementia. The Lions also said he had suffered from heart disease and, for the past two years, stomach cancer. He died at home in Los Angeles surrounded by family members, said Craig Mitnick, Karras’ attorney.

“Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex,” Lions president Tom Lewand said.

His death also will be tied to the NFL’s conflict with former players over concussions. Karras in April joined the more than 3,500 football veterans suing the league for not protecting them better from head injuries, immediately becoming one of the best-known names in the legal fight. Mitnick said the family had not yet decided whether to donate Karras’ brain for study, as other families have done.

Born in Gary, Ind., Karras starred for four years at Iowa. Detroit drafted Karras with the 10th overall pick in 1958, and he was a four-time All-Pro defensive tackle over 12 seasons with the franchise.

He was the heart of the Lions’ defensive line, terrorizing quarterbacks for years. The Lions handed the powerful 1962 Green Bay Packers their only defeat that season, a 26-14 upset on Thanksgiving during which they harassed quarterback Bart Starr constantly.

Packers guard Jerry Kramer wrote in his diary of the 1967 season about his trepidation over having to play Karras.

Alex Karras was one of the stars of the 1980s sitcom “Webster” with his wife Susan Clark and Emmanuel Lewis.

“I’m thinking about him every minute,” Kramer wrote.

For all his prowess on the field, Karras may have gained more fame when he turned to acting in the movies and on television.

Playing a not-so-bright bruiser in Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles,” he not only slugged a horse but also delivered the classic line: “Mongo only pawn in game of life.”

Several years before that, Karras had already become a bit of a celebrity through George Plimpton’s behind-the-scenes book about what it was like to be an NFL player in the Motor City, “Paper Lion: Confessions of a Second-string Quarterback.”

That led to Karras playing himself alongside Alan Alda in the successful movie adaption — Karras and Plimpton remained friends for life, and one of Karras’ sons is named after Plimpton. It opened doors for Karras to be an analyst alongside Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford on “Monday Night Football.”

In the 1980s, Karras played a sheriff in the comedy “Porky’s” and became a hit on the small screen as Emmanuel Lewis’ adoptive father, George Papadopoulos, in the sitcom “Webster.”

He also had roles in “Against All Odds” and “Victor Victoria.” He portrayed the husband of famed female athlete “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias in the TV movie that starred Susan Clark, who later became his wife. The two formed their own production company and it was Clark who played the role of his wife on “Webster.”

Recently, his wife said Karras’ quality of life has deteriorated because of head injuries sustained during his playing career.

Clark said her husband couldn’t drive after loving to get behind the wheel and couldn’t remember recipes for some of the favorite Italian and Greek dishes he used to cook.

“This physical beating that he took as a football player has impacted his life, and therefore it has impacted his family life,” Clark told The Associated Press earlier this year. “He is interested in making the game of football safer and hoping that other families of retired players will have a healthier and happier retirement.”

[+] EnlargeAlex Karras
David Boss/US PresswireAlex Karras spent his entire NFL career with the Lions before retiring in 1970 at age 35.

Clark has said he was formally diagnosed with dementia several years ago and has had symptoms for more than a dozen years. He joined hundreds of other former players suing the league.

“It’s the same thing as back in the gladiator days when the gladiators fought to death,” Mitnick, who represents Karras and hundreds of others in the suit, has said. “Fans care about these guys when they’re playing and they are heroes. But as soon as you’re not a hero and not playing, the fan doesn’t really care what happens to them.”

The NFL has said it did not intentionally seek to mislead players and has taken action to better protect players and to advance the science of concussion management and treatment.

Karras played his entire NFL career with the Lions before retiring in 1970 at age 35. He was a first-team All-Pro in 1960, 1961 and 1965, and he made the Pro Bowl four times. He missed the 1963 season when he was suspended by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in a gambling probe. Karras was recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a defensive tackle on the All-Decade Team of the 1960s.

Karras later wrote an autobiography, “Even Big Guys Cry,” and two other books, “Alex Karras” and “Tuesday Night Football.” Lewand said Karras also loved to garden and cook.

“We know Alex first and foremost as one of the cornerstones to our ‘Fearsome Foursome’ defensive line of the 1960s and also as one of the greatest defensive linemen to ever play in the NFL,” Lewand said. “Many others across the country came to know Alex as an accomplished actor and as an announcer during the early years of ‘Monday Night Football.'”

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

As NFL Training Camps Begin, Lawsuits Continue To Be Filed

PHILADELPHIA, July 24, 2012 — As NFL training camps around the country begin, the NFL continues to be hit with more concussion related lawsuits. A suit filed this week in Philadelphia Federal Court names 92 retired players and 72 of their wives. The lawsuit includes Hall of Famers Ron Yary and Roger Wehrli. The suit also names former Minnesota Vikings great and 5 time pro bowler Chuck Foreman. Additional players named in the lawsuit include former quarterback Bobby Hebert, former linebacker Ted Hendricks, and former quarterback Scott Brunner.

The lawsuit is just the latest brought against the National Football League by former players who suffered repeated concussions. The total number of players suing the league is approaching 3,000 and expected to rise.

“The NFL was aware of the risks of repeated head trauma and multiple concussive events, but nevertheless chose to deliberately ignore and conceal from the players and their families the risks of serious long-term health effects,” said Craig Mitnick, an attorney representing over 900 players in the litigation, along with his co-counsel Gene Locks of Locks Law Firm.

The latest lawsuit alleges fraud and negligence against the NFL and accuses the league of hiding medical evidence about the risks of concussions and failing to warn players they risked permanent brain injury if they returned to play too soon after they had sustained a concussion.

The NFL had previously been ordered by the Federal Court to file its motion to dismiss all cases by August 9, 2012. That deadline has been extended until late August.

Seau’s death sparks more player lawsuits, but it’s an uphill climb

By Melissa Segura

Sports Illustrated.com

The phone rang more frequently at Craig Mitnick’s Philadelphia-area law offices late in the afternoon on May 2 as news of legendary linebacker Junior Seau’s suicide started circulating. On the other end of the phone, Mitnick heard the antsy voices of retired NFL players, calling one after another, for a status check on the concussion-related claims Mitnick filed on their behalf against the NFL.

“A lot of athletes I’m speaking with after Junior Seau’s incident are saying, ‘Wow, I’m glad I’m joined this. I need to become part of this. I’m worried. I have some symptoms,'” Mitnick says.

Though researchers are weeks away from determining if Seau suffered brain damage linked to concussions, his death — coupled with the suicide 11 days earlier of Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, lead plaintiff in the first federal suit against the NFL for concussion-related injuries — has emboldened some of Mitnick’s 800 clients, many of whom he described as hesitant to sue the league. Since Seau shot himself in the chest, at least six new lawsuits have been filed, charging that the league ignored and hid information about the dangers of head trauma and failed to properly treat concussed players. As of Thursday, more than 1,800 retired players in 71 lawsuits say they suffer symptoms like memory loss, depression, and sleeplessness due to repeated hits to the head they endured as pro football players. Thirteen of the suits also name the NFL’s licensed helmet manufacturer, Riddell, as a co-defendant, alleging the company defectively designed and manufactured helmets. (Six widows of former players have also filed separate wrongful death suits against the league). The suits ask for financial damages and some want the court to mandate a medical monitoring program for players. Most disputes are in the process of being consolidated into one case in the United States District Court in Philadelphia. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have until June 8 to file a master complaint.

Legal analysts interviewed by SI describe the players’ fight the same way: an uphill battle. Andrew B. Carrabis, a Florida attorney and author of a Harvard Journal of Sports & Entertainment Law article about the legal implications of concussions in pro football, says the plaintiffs’ challenge is twofold. First, the players must argue that their complaints are beyond the scope of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreements. Second, the plaintiffs have to establish a clear cause-and-effect relationship between their symptoms and the hits they took as NFL players.

In the Easterling suit, the NFL filed a motion to dismiss last November, arguing the players’ claims were “inextricably intertwined” with the CBA. “That is the case here,” the motion states. (The Easterling case has since been combined into the Philadelphia master complaint.)

To get around the CBA, the plaintiffs need “a smoking gun,” says Robert Boland, academic chair of NYU’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management. “Something that shows the concealment or conceit” that the NFL knew the dangers of head injuries.

Yet Boland notes the NFL isn’t just fighting the concussion issue in the court of law but in the court of public opinion, too. “Football is very traditional in the sense that it’s enjoyed by generations. It honors team. It honors our commitment to one another. The idea that the league would be in a position of acting to crush the claims of past heroes and appear insensitive might be the biggest issue here,” he says. Events like Seau’s and Easterling’s suicides, Boland notes, “put the NFL in a situation where they want to be very careful in managing this because you don’t want to appear to be unsympathetic to your former stars.” Popular perception more than legal obligation may compel the league to settle quickly, stopping the onslaught of headlines with every new filing.

Locks, the attorney, says it’s too early to think settlement. Which is partly why his co-counsel, Mitnick, continues staking out new clients. He set up a website last January — playerinjury.com — with the latest news about concussions, the lawyers’ contact information, and a 17-question intake form. “It’s very difficult for players out there to have access to attorneys that are involved in this litigation where they can ask questions, where they can become informed, where they know about the lawsuit they’re getting involved in,” Mitnick says. He estimates that 1,000 retired players have answered the questionnaire. After filling out the form asking about players’ concussion histories and instructing them to click “Yes” next to the symptoms they’ve suffered, such as headaches and tingling or numbness in the hands, there’s one final box for players to check before submitting their forms: a retainer agreement with the Locks firm. With a click of a mouse — much to the chagrin of competing attorneys — retired NFL stars can join the suit. Or, in more sobering metrics, about as long as it took Seau and Easterling to lose their lives.

 

NFL Concussions: Playerinjury.com Tracks Potentially Billions Of Dollars Worth Of Lawsuits

With possibly billions of dollars at stake, lawyers for many of the 300 former players suing the NFL over concussion-related health problems announced Tuesday the launch of a website that tracks the litigation.

The website, Playerinjury.com, already provides PDFs of the court filings, a questionnaire for athletes considering suing, a blog and related news articles. Attorney Craig Mitnick of Haddonfield, NJ, who formed the site with Philadelphia lawyer Gene Locks and some unidentified NFL retirees, told The Huffington Post the site is intended for both former and current players. The other goal of the site’s creators is to raise awareness not just with football players, but among athletes in all sports with a possibility of head injury.

Mitnick said billions of dollars are at stake in the current lawsuits. Among the better-known plaintiffs are Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett and Super Bowl-champion quarterback Jim McMahon.

All together, the lawsuits accuse the NFL of hiding what it knew about the cumulative effects of repeated head trauma. While the NFL has repeatedly denied wrong-doing, high rates of depression, memory loss and early-onset Dementia have reportedly been found in many retired players. Several lawsuits filed by players have been consolidated in Philadelphia federal district court.

Mitnick said he expects the plaintiff list to grow exponentially. “I am confident that the numbers of retired NFL players [who will join the class action] will be into the thousands,” he said. Some expect Playerinjury.com will play a role in making information better available to all.

“We need access to up-to-date information, accurate information, regarding the class action,” former New York Jets safety Rich Miano said in a press release.

Concussion lawsuits piling up on NFL

by Malena Caruso
Feb 21, 2012

 

Nearly 140 retired National Football League players filed lawsuits against the NFL in February, claiming negligence and failure to protect players from the risks and effects of concussions while playing in the league.

These players, who filed in Louisiana and Philadelphia, now make the total number of players filing against the NFL close to 550.

The increase in litigation comes after the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted the consolidation of all concussion lawsuits against the NFL filed by retired players.

The decision came quietly on Tuesday, Jan. 31, leading up to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.

“The decision came quick, to our surprise,” said Craig Mitnick, who represents players involved in lawsuits based in Philadelphia. “Litigation is picking up quickly. I represent 160 players.”

The new players filing include former Chicago Bears kicker Louie Aguiar, who played from 1991 through 2000 for the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

Lawyers representing players already involved in lawsuits against the NFL are now working to get the single class action organized, said Craig Mitnick, a plaintiff lawyer with his own firm based in New Jersey.

The complaint asks that the NFL protect players, provide treatment and monitor cognitive injuries suffered while playing in the league, Mitnick said.

The next step is for the NFL to answer the complaint. The league has 30 days after the decision was made to answer the complaint; Tuesday was day 21. March 1 is the deadline to answer the complaint.

Judge Anita Brody, of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Philadelphia, will hear this single class action.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, vice president of communications, responded to the newly granted class action via email:

“The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so. Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit. It stands in contrast to the league’s actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions.”

No future court dates have been set at this time. In the meantime, Mitnick sees many more retired players and their wives coming forward and to file lawsuits against the NFL, now that all concussion cases will be consolidated into the class action.

Dave Duerson’s Family Files Wrongful Death Suit Against NFL

The family of late Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL, alleging that the league did not do enough to prevent and treat the concussions he sustained during his playing career.

Duerson sustained multiple concussions and won two Super Bowls in his 11-year career with the Bears and New York Giants, but his later life was marked by health challenges, and he committed suicide in February 2011 at the age of 50. Duerson’s son, Tregg, alleges that the NFL’s inaction led to his father’s tragic death:

“If they knowingly failed to inform and implement proper safety concussion procedures, then their indifference was the epitome of injustice,” Tregg Duerson said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. “The inactions of the past inevitably led to the demise and death of my father.

In addition to the NFL, the Duerson family’s suit names helmet manufacturer Riddell as a co-defendant.

For more on the Bears, visit Windy City Gridiron.

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