On February 2, 2015, Judge Anita Brody of the United States District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania issued an Order requesting that the parties confer and address 5 concerns she had regarding the proposed Settlement. These concerns were in response to particular issues raised at the Fairness Hearing held in November 2014, and indicate that Judge Brody listened to those arguments and decided that some changes needed to be made for the benefit of Retired NFL Players.
In response to Judge Brody’s request, the parties jointly filed an amended Settlement Agreement on February 13, 2015, in accordance with Judge Brody’s February 2, 2015 Order. The five key alterations to the settlement include:
- Players who played in NFL Europe will receive ½ Eligible Season for each season they spent playing in NFL Europe, provided they were on the active roster for at least 3 regular season games, or were on the active roster for 1 game and then spent at least 2 games on the injured reserve list or inactive list due to a concussion or head injury;
- The NFL has agreed that if the $75 million set aside to cover the Baseline Assessment Program is insufficient to provide examinations for all qualifying players, the NFL will pay the amount necessary – whatever that may be – to provide the examinations in accordance with the Settlement Agreement;
- The parties have extended the Qualifying Diagnosis of CTE to include players who die up until the date of final approval of the Settlement;
- The amended Settlement provides for players to make a hardship request to the Claims Administrator for the appeal fee to be waived for good cause; and
- The parties have amended the Settlement to allow deceased NFL players’ families to prove a Qualifying Diagnosis via a certified death certificate upon demonstrating that they made a reasonable effort to obtain medical records that are unavailable due to a force majeure-type event (g., flood, fire).
With these amendments in place, we are hopeful that Judge Brody will issue her final approval of the Settlement within the next several weeks.
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