A Class of Former Players and the NFL Jointly Ask Judge to Remove Expert
On February 27, 2018, attorneys representing the NFL and attorneys representing a class of former NFL players jointly asked U.S. District Judge Anita Brody to remove neurologist Dr. Stephan Mayer from the Appeals Advisory Panel (APP). The attorney’s agreed that Dr. Brian Ott and Dr. Mary Quiceno should replace Dr. Mayer “given the demands on the … AAP in the implementation and on-going administration settlement.”
As we have previously covered regarding the NFL concussion settlement, Judge Brody approved two groups of medical experts that made up the APP. These experts were expected to test and diagnose players in the class, and determine whether each player had a neurological condition, which will qualify him for recovery under the terms of the settlement. The AAP was comprised of five board-certified medical experts who would: (1) review certain Qualifying Diagnoses made prior to the Settlement’s effective date; (2) handle disputes when a retired player’s medical provider and the administrator overseeing the Qualifying Diagnoses program disagreed; and (3) advise the court with respect to medical aspects of the settlement when necessary. The AAP was originally comprised of Dr. James Brewer, Dr. David Geldmacher, Dr. Stephen Mayer, Dr. Aaron McMurtray, and Dr. Rhonna Shatz.
According to their joint application, the attorneys asked Judge Brody to remove Dr. Mayer based on conversations the attorneys had with the Claims Administrator and because of the ongoing needs of the settlement. The attorneys agreed that Dr. Ott and Dr. Quiceno’s qualifications, including their professional and academic education, training and experience, make both a seamless fit for the ongoing work of the APP.
In April 2015, the NFL entered into a settlement agreement, which established a 65-year uncapped monetary fund for players who can prove certain neurological diagnoses. Further the settlement provided a $75 million “baseline assessment program” that provides eligible retired players with neurological examinations, a $10 million education fund to promote safety and injury prevention in youth football, and to inform retired players of their medical benefits. The deal offered payments ranging from $1.5 million to $5 million for each player, or the player’s estate, who suffered from a serious degenerative condition in connection with a traumatic brain injury, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. The ongoing role of the APP is to determine which former NFL players are eligible to receive benefits under the settlement agreement.