Former KC Footballers Again Ask Court to Separate Claims

On Monday, January 25, 2016, a group of ex-Kansas City Chiefs renewed their remand bid seeking to get out of Pennsylvania federal court and back to a Missouri venue. The move comes as no surprise, as the players originally sought a transfer out of the multidistrict litigation concussion suit plaguing the NFL nearly two years ago.

In the renewed motion, the players bring focus as to why Missouri state court is a more appropriate forum, arguing that their claims are predicated entirely on state law principles and thus should not be preempted by federal labor law – the preemption issue was the main reason the case was lopped in with the greater concussion suit in MDL in the first place. The suit against the NFL has since been settled, with many of the former players, including those seeking transfer here, believing the proposed amount to be inadequate to redress the injuries alleged.

What is interesting in this case is that the ex-Chiefs never actually field suit against the League or any of its staff. Rather, their claims were brought only against the Chiefs organization, targeting their former employer under Missouri state law violations, including a common-law duty to provide a safe workplace. While their claims follow the same general allegations made by other retired football players in the MDL suit — i.e., that concussions and related injuries suffered while playing could lead to long-term brain damage and other cognitive trauma — because the issues target only the Chiefs organization, the players argue, any federal preemption determination can only be made in Missouri state court.

The renewed motion, other than seeking remand, also requests the court to make the Chiefs pay related costs for its former players involvement in the federal suit, arguing it never should have been transferred there to begin with.

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