On October 31, 2012, lawyers representing thousands of former NFL players filed an opposition brief to the NFL’s current motion to dismiss pending in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania, insisting that based on the gravity of the harm incurred, their lawsuit against the League must be allowed to move forward. The brief rejected the NFL’s contention that the action was essentially a labor dispute that needed to be resolved under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
The Plaintiffs accused the NFL of “orchestrat[ing] a disinformation campaign,” insisting that the League “knew that players were exposed to risks of severe neurological injuries yet did nothing to prevent them.” However, the League has, time and again, publicly denied that it knew of any long-term dangers posed by concussions. Further, the NFL insists that it did not intentionally lie to players about the potential side effects. Instead, it stated that it delegated the decisions about players’ conditions and return-to-play decisions to individual team doctors and trainers.
At this point, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody must decide how to proceed with the extremely cumbersome litigation. If a settlement is not reached and the case is not dismissed, it is possible that the individual cases could be returned to the multiple districts where they originated forcing the parties to proceed with separate trials.