Former NFL Player Sues Retirement Plan
On Friday, October 2, 2015, ex-NFL player Sean Berton brought suit against the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, Retirement Plan Board, and Retirement Plan Committee under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
Berton played in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants from 2002-05. According to the complaint, Berton suffered “approximately a dozen concussions” during his NFL career, and began exhibiting neuro-cognitive problems in October 2005. After leaving the NFL, Berton took a job as a recruiter at Soloman Edwards, but was unable to keep the job due to his neuro-cognitive issues. Berton underwent testing and was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Berton was also advised not to return to work.
Berton later filed for “total and permanent” disability benefits under the NFL Retirement Plan. To obtain benefits under the plan, Berton was required to be evaluated by two doctors. Both doctors determined he was able to work, and Berton was denied benefits. Berton is now suing under ERISA, claiming that the defendants failed to “provide for a review that takes into account all comments, documents, records, and other information submitted.”