Fairness Hearing on NFL Concussion Settlement Concluded

On November 19, the opponents of the NFL concussion settlement had their last chance to object the deal before a U.S. District Judge Anita Brody.

The main argument for the opponents was that the cash award was limited to players who died with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”) during a relatively small window of years.  Under the current plan, only players who were diagnosed with CTE before July 2014 would be eligible for up to $4 million.  Additionally, the diagnostic tests to determine eligibility for some players were biased against those with less education, according to the opponents.

Although the settlement offers $75 million for the required diagnostic tests, many commentators criticized the amount was too small.  The opponents also pointed out that the NFL could appeal an unlimited number of diagnoses giving the league an unfair advantage.

As the co-lead plaintiff, Kevin Turner, said in his statement earlier, the proponents want Judge Brody to approve the proposal as soon as possible so that the former players could get paid.  The NFL through its legal team also said, “The league could have fought these claims for many, many years,” and “The objectors completely ignore this reality in their filings.”

Judge Brody may approve, reject, or alter the current proposal.  The decision is expected to come early next year.  Even if Judge Brody approves, the opponents have expressed their intention to appeal.  Until all appeals are exhausted, the plan will be on hold, and no awards will be paid.

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