Battle over Benefits: NFL Denies Claims it Wrongfully Withheld Payments to Retiree

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The NFL is currently in the early stages of defending yet another lawsuit in connection with injuries allegedly sustained by a former athlete while playing in the NFL. In this case, Jesse Solomon – former linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Miami Dolphins – is seeking increased disability benefits for injuries he claims arose out of his time in the NFL.

Solomon claims that he has been denied approximately $100,000 in disability benefits per year due to his retirement plan’s failure to accept determinations by both his physician and the Social Security Administration that he is permanently disabled. In its answer to Solomon’s complaint, the NFL’s retirement plan stated: “The retirement board’s determination was consistent with the terms of the plan document, supported by substantial evidence, and otherwise reasonable … [its] determination was neither arbitrary and capricious nor an abuse of discretion, and it must be upheld.” The final determination that Solomon is not totally and permanently disabled was made in 2011 by the NFL’s Retirement Board, which is made up of 6 members; three whom are appointed by the NFL, and three whom are appointed by the NFL Players Association.

Solomon is now seeking a court determination that the NFL must pay him both full disability benefits, as well as retroactively for the benefits he has thus far been denied.

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