Category Archives: NFL

Fourth Circuit Says NFL Retirement Plan Wrongfully Denied Request for Higher Benefits

On Friday, June 23, 2017, the Fourth Circuit affirmed a Maryland District Court’s 2016 ruling that the National Football League’s Retirement Plan wrongfully denied a request by former NFL linebacker Jesse Solomon for a higher level of benefits. Solomon sought a higher level of benefits as a result of cognitive impairments he has suffered due to head injuries sustained while playing nine years in the NFL. As a result of the affirmation that the Retirement Plan “abused its discretion” in Solomon’s case, the NFL will…

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No Pack No! Bears Sued by Packers Fan over Fan Gear

Longtime Green Bay Packers fan Russell Beckman filed a putative class action against the Chicago Bears in Illinois federal court on Friday, June 16, 2017. Beckman is accusing the team of violating fans’ right to free speech by not allowing fans to wear clothing or gear that supports opposing teams when the fan attends any on-field event. Beckman has owned a personal seat license at Soldier Field since 2003 but more often than not, only attends Bears games at Soldier Field when they play the…

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Forward Progress: Personal Injury Suits against Helmet Maker Moving Forward

After a delay and the conclusion of the NFL concussion litigation, the 95 personal injury suits against Riddell, the former official helmet supplier for the NFL, are moving forward. On May 18, 2017, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, a Pennsylvania federal court judge, issued a scheduling order for the claims against Riddell. Some of these suits were initially brought in 2012 and were later separated from the multidistrict concussion suit filed by ex-NFL players or their families. A suit against Riddell by NCAA football players…

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The Not-So Big Easy: Louisiana District Judge Limits AFL Player to Workers’ Compensation for Concussion Injuries

On May 10, 2017, Judge Fallon of the Eastern District of Louisiana held that Lorenzo Breland, a professional arena football player suffering from alleged concussions, was limited to pursing relief through a workers’ compensation claim. As such, the player was barred from pursuing his intentional tort claims against Arena Football One, LLC (the AFO), which owns both the Arena Football League One, LLC and Louisiana Arena Football, LLC. In originating this lawsuit, Breland asserted that he suffered multiple concussions while playing for the New Orleans…

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There’s a Doctor in the House: Two Groups of Medical Experts Approved by District Judge in NFL Concussion Settlement

On May 4, 2017, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody approved two groups of medical experts in the NFL concussion settlement. These experts will lead the testing and diagnosing of players in the class to determine whether each member has a neurological condition which will qualify them for recovery under the terms of the settlement. A list comprised of these experts was submitted last month. Per the Approval signed by Judge Brody, the two panels of experts for this Settlement Program are the Appeals Advisory Panel…

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Will NFL Players Begin Wearing Tech on Uniforms?

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) stated that its newly unveiled business accelerator has entered into an agreement with Whoop Inc., which will provide players with fitness tracking devices that they can wear. Notably, the deals allows players to retain ownership of the data they collect. As background, OneTeam Collective, a business incubator launched by the players union in December to help emerging sports-related companies grow by leveraging the licensing rights and advice of pro athletes. According to the NFLPA, the deal ensures…

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NFL Concussion Litigation Settlement Results in a Flurry of Objections

The five-year NFL concussion litigation finally came to a conclusion when a settlement was reached, however, while the court has given final approvals regarding several objections and opening the registration for all class members, lingering issues still remain regarding the allocation of attorneys’ fees, as counsel for thousands of class members are scrambling to take their fair share. The concussion litigation settlement established a bottomless fund over a sixty-five year period to compensate a class of over 20,000 former NFL players. The deal offered…

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Former NFL Agent Pleads Guilty to Bribing Former UNC Players

Former NFL agent, Terry Watson, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement for providing nearly $24,000 in cash to former UNC and current NFL players Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin, and Greg Little in 2010. Watson entered his plea deal on Monday, April 17, which concluded the more than three-year-old felony charges. The terms of his plea deal include 30 months of probation, a $5000 fine, and a suspended six to eight month jail sentence. A felony obstruction of justice charge for not providing records…

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Former NFL Players Object to Class Attorneys’ Fees from the Concussion Settlement Fund

The former NFL players and their families seeking to recover from an uncapped NFL concussion litigation have objected to an additional five percent set-aside sought by the class attorneys on the case. As previously reported, in April 2015, the NFL entered into a settlement agreement with almost 22,000 former players, which established a 65-year span to compensate the class members. The deal offers payments ranging from $1.5 million to $5 million for each player, or the player’s estate, who suffered from a serious…

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Former NFL Stars Who Opted Out of the NFL Concussion Litigation Rejoin Class

Two former NFL stars, Joe Horn and Chris McAlister, became the latest players to reinstate themselves in the NFL’s uncapped concussion litigation, after initially opting out of the class action. As background, the settlement established a bottomless fund over a 65-year span — with a potential payout of over $1 billion — to compensate a class of over 20,000 former NFL players now suffering from serious degenerative conditions linked to traumatic brain injuries, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. Under the settlement, each…

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