NFL Withdraws Controversial Appeal Just Before Hearing

On January 9, 2019, one day before a scheduled hearing, the NFL withdrew its appeal that previously outraged attorneys representing former NFL players in concussion class-action litigation. As we have previously reported, in April 2015, the NFL entered into a settlement agreement with almost 22,000 former players. The settlement established a 65-year uncapped monetary fund for players who could prove certain neurological diagnoses. The settlement provided a $75 million “baseline assessment program” that provided eligible retired players with neurological examinations, a $10 million education …

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Concussion Suit Brought by Former Chiefs Player’s Ex-Wife Dismissed

A suit brought by a former Chiefs player’s ex-wife has been dismissed in Pennsylvania federal court. U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody ruled that the plaintiff, Anita Martin,could not pursue her claims alleging that the concussions sustained by her former husband, Christopher Martin, hurt their relationship.

Judge Brody explained that Ms. Martin failed to opt-out of an uncapped, multi-district settlement that the NFL had reached with roughly 5,000 players back in 2015. The settlement concluded allegations that the players sustained concussions and degenerative brain diseases …

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Michael Peluso Sues New Jersey Devils

On January 3, 2019, former New Jersey Devils’ enforcer, Michael Peluso, sued the New Jersey Devils and various team officials, claiming that the team concealed his risk of long-term neurological problems. According to Peluso, the Devils hid the full extent of a head injury that he suffered, on December 18, 1993, in a fight with Tony Twist, a member of the Quebec Nordiques. During the fight, Peluso allegedly suffered a concussion. According to the complaint, the Devils “intentionally, deliberately, fraudulently, and with callous disregard …

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Judge Chooses Special Investigator in NFL Concussion Settlement

On December 10, 2018, U.S. District Judge Anita J. Brody, the judge overseeing the NFL concussion settlement, appointed former Chief U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel to serve as the special fraud investigator in the NFL Concussion Settlement. Under Judge Brody’s order, Judge Stengel will serve as a Special Investigator and will “look into possible fraudulent claims.”

As we have previously reported, since April 2018, the NFL has asked Judge Brody to appoint a special investigator to examine potentially fraudulent concussion claims that …

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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Boogaard Opioid Death Lawsuit

On December 3, 2018, the United States Supreme Court refused review of the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the parents of ex-NHL player Derek Boogaard. The lawsuit, had alleged Boogaard suffered a fatal overdose as a direct result of the NHL encouraging violence and concealing information regarding the dangers of head trauma.

By way of refresher, Derek Boogaard was known as an “enforcer” on the ice over his six years in the league, fighting 66 times over his 277 regular season career. After passing as …

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NHL Reaches Concussion Settlement with Class of Retired Players

On November 12, 2018, the NHL announced a tentative $18.9 million settlement with a class of over 300 retired NHL players. As we have previously reported, in June, 2018, former NHL players, Dan Carcillo and Nick Boynton, led a class of retired players suing the NHL claiming that they “suffered multiple serious head traumas during [their] NHL career that were not recognized, diagnosed or treated, and improperly diagnosed and treated.” Further, over the years, while the NHL has dealt with the problematic issue of …

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Former Players Sue Football Helmet Manufacturer Riddell

On October 30, 2018, a putative class action lawsuit was filed by former high school and college football players. The players are suing BRG Sports, Inc., commonly known as Riddell, for its practice of “marketing, promoting, and distributing dangerous and defective football helmets.” The players argued that they sustained permanent brain and neurological injuries due to inadequate padding in the company’s helmets, which they were told would protect them.

According to the complaint, Riddell is the world’s largest football helmet manufacturer. For decades, Riddell …

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Notre Dame Football Player to Proceed with CTE Suit

The Supreme Court of Ohio has ruled that the estate of a former Notre Dame football player may proceed with their fraud and negligence claims, which allege that CTE is a “latent” disease and thus exempt from the typical statute of limitations.

The decision is noteworthy because, while negligence claims must usually be filed two years from the injury, “latent” diseases have a modified timeline: the two year time bar begins at the time an individual learned of the injury, not when the injury …

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Junior Seau’s Family and the NFL Settle Wrongful Death Suit

On October 5, 2018, Junior Seau’s family settled their lawsuit with the NFL; however, the particulars of the settlement are confidential. As we have previously reported, Seau, who played for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots, took his one life, at the age of 43, in 2012. An autopsy report showed that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a condition caused by repeated brain trauma. In 2013, Seau’s family filed a wrongful death and joined a class of …

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NCAA Likely to Face Another Round of Concussion Claims

On September 28, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge John Lee allowed two former Purdue University football players to proceed with most of their putative claims that the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference hid risks of repetitive brain trauma. The former football players, Michael Rose and Timothy Statton, are hoping to lead a class of former student-athletes who sustained head trauma while playing football for Purdue from 1952 to 2010.

Their case stems from the “NCAA $75 Million Settlement.” As we have previously reported, …

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