(For more information on the NFL concussion lawsuit, see our overview.)
On Monday, February 2, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Brody issued an Order asking both parties to address five concerns she had regarding the proposed Settlement. Judge Brody’s Order is not a denial of the Settlement. Rather, the Order is promising as it indicates that Judge Brody listened to the arguments made at the Fairness Hearing in November 2014, and decided that some changes should be made to benefit the players. The five categories of changes include the following:
- Providing Eligible Season credit for time spent in NFL Europe;
- Ensuring that all retired players who are eligible to participate in the Baseline Assessment Program are able to do so, regardless of funding limitations in the agreement;
- Extending the Qualifying Diagnosis of CTE to include players who die up until final approval;
- Providing a hardship provision for the appeal fee for Settlement Class Members; and
- Allowing a reasonable accommodation for players who do not possess medical records supporting their Qualifying Diagnoses due to force majeure events.
Judge Brody said in the Order that the settlement should allow payment to retired players who died from CTE after the agreement’s July 7 preliminary approval date and before its final approval. The changes “would enhance the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy” of the proposed settlement, Judge Brody said in her threepage Order. Judge Brody also wants the settlement to provide credit for seasons played in the NFL’s European league and “reasonable accommodation” for athletes who don’t have access to medical records supporting a diagnosis that qualifies for compensation.
The parties have until February 13, 2015, to respond to the court by amending the proposed Settlement to address these issues, or provide the court with an explanation as to why the parties are unwilling to agree to such amendments. According to the Associated Press, Judge Brody is pushing both sides toward a plan that could pay out $1 billion over 65 years. In response to the Order, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said: “we … continue to have a high degree of confidence that this settlement — which has been accepted by more than 99 percent of retirees –will receive final approval and provide important and generous benefits to retirees and their families.”
According to the Associated Press, the NFL expects 6,000 of nearly 20,000 retired players to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or moderate dementia someday. The settlement would pay those players as well as players who suffer from qualifying neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
For continued up-to-date information and news regarding the NFL Settlement, like the Pope McGlamry page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @PopeMcGlamry, or visit our website at http://www.popemcglamry.com. If you or a loved one are a Retired NFL Player, or have questions regarding the NFL Concussion Litigation and Settlement, contact Pope McGlamry at 877-285-7656 or submit a case evaluation online at http://www.popemcglamry.com to schedule a complimentary legal consultation.