NFL Concussion Litigation: New Settlement Information

There have been many developments in the NFL Concussion Litigation.  A new settlement has been reached.  We believe it is substantially more favorable to our former player clients and their families.  On Wednesday, June 25th, 2014, a Motion for Preliminary Approval was filed with Judge Brody in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with a modified Settlement Agreement.  In some ways, this modified Settlement Agreement is similar to the original Agreement that was proposed back in January 2014.  The new Settlement Agreement still provides for $10 Million for education programs, $75 Million set aside for a Baseline Assessment Program, and the qualifying diagnoses and compensatory award amounts have not changed.  However, there are some important changes that were made to the new Settlement Agreement in light of Judge Brody’s concerns that the $765 Million would not cover all former players.

What is new and significant is that the new modified Settlement Agreement provides for an uncapped compensatory award amount, meaning that the NFL will be responsible for whatever amount is necessary to cover qualified diagnoses for all former players over the course of the 65 year settlement.  This is a very good development.  Additionally, the release language changed such that it no longer includes any non-NFL entities (i.e. the NCAA), so that by agreeing to participate in the Settlement, players are not forced to give up any rights they may have against any other entity.  In return for these concessions from the NFL, additional anti-fraud provisions were added to protect the NFL from the filing of suspect claims.