Helmet Company Riddell Tries to Call Time-Out on Concussion Lawsuit

On the heels of the uncapped settlement in multidistrict litigation between the NFL and former players seeking damages for concussion-related conditions, helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc. has tried to call a time-out on their own multidistrict litigation.

A group of former NFL players filed two motions requesting a pretrial conference with Riddell in Pennsylvania Federal Court. Riddell filed a response arguing that the Rule 16(a) pretrial conference is premature and inappropriate based on three main factors. First, there is a pending appeal to the uncapped settlement in the litigation between the NFL and the former players that could determine how the current litigation should proceed. Second, the court has yet to rule on various pending motion filed by Riddell and other NFL defendant which could affect the disposition of the current matter. Last, until the court severs the NFL as a party, any conference without their presence is improper.

An attorney for the plaintiffs, Jason Luckasevic, has essentially called this a delay tactic at his clients expense. He told Law360, “All they’re doing is delaying the inevitable.”  Luckasevic added, “There’s no logical explanation to their argument. There’s no reason for Riddell to be sitting around just hanging out. My clients want to be heard.”

A ruling on this issue will give insight to the pace at which the court wants to handle issues relating to concussions and manufactures. While concussions allegedly suffered while playing football are at issue in this matter, there are other sports where concussion related litigation could develop.

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