Junior Seau’s Family and the NFL Settle Wrongful Death Suit

On October 5, 2018, Junior Seau’s family settled their lawsuit with the NFL; however, the particulars of the settlement are confidential. As we have previously reported, Seau, who played for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots, took his one life, at the age of 43, in 2012. An autopsy report showed that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a condition caused by repeated brain trauma. In 2013, Seau’s family filed a wrongful death and joined a class of…
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NHL Players Denied Class Certification

On July 13, 2018, United States District Judge Susan Richard Nelson declined to certify a class of thousands of former NHL players who are suing the NHL. As we have previously reported, several former NHL players sued the NHL claiming that the NHL failed to inform them of the health risks caused by concussions and head-related trauma even though the league had knowledge of such information. The players filed for class certification, but Judge Nelson refused to certify the class because the applicable law…
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Colombia Law School Holds Conference on NFL Concussion Lawsuit’s Uncapped Settlement Fund

On March 2, 2018, at a conference on class action jurisprudence held at Columbia Law School, advocates and opponents discussed U.S. District Judge Anita Brody’s decision to move the NFL concussion class-action litigation toward an uncapped settlement. Judge Brody, a Columbia Law graduate, attended the conference. As previously reported, in April 2015, the NFL entered into a settlement agreement with almost 22,000 former players. The settlement established a 65-year uncapped monetary fund for players who could prove certain neurological diagnoses. The settlement provided a…
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NFL Continues to Argue Hernandez Suit is a Matter of Federal Labor Law

On December 18, 2017, the National Football League responded in opposition to Avielle Hernandez’s motion to remand her lawsuit against the NFL back to state court. Also named in the suit are helmet maker Riddell and other related companies. Avielle’s lawsuit seeks compensation for the NFL’s role in her father’s, Aaron Hernandez’s, post-mortem diagnosis of stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Those diagnosed with CTE exhibit symptoms that include impulse control issues, aggression, depression, dementia, and suicidality. Hernandez committed suicide while serving a life sentence…
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Ruling on Field Stands for Changes to Claims Process in NFL Concussion Settlement

A Pennsylvania federal judge upheld the approval of a claims administrator’s changes in the way a multidistrict NFL concussion settlement was implemented. The 16 retired players who filed the motion for reconsideration argued that the court should review its Nov. 2 decision that they cannot interfere with the claims process. The former players again argued the requirements for qualifying for a monetary reward were altered from the original settlement agreement. The court denied the motion Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 without a memorandum. The retired players…
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Should Hernandez CTE Case Remain Separate from Class-Action Concussion Litigation?

Lawyers for the estate of late NFL star Aaron Hernandez are trying to prevent a $20 million lawsuit, filed on behalf of Hernandez’ five-year-old daughter against the National Football League, from being merged with a wider class-action suit addressing former players’ concussions. The defendants, including the NFL and helmet manufacturer Riddell, asked U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole in November to temporarily stay proceedings in the case until the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) rules whether the action should be added to the…
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Riddell Helmet Safety Suit Moved to Illinois

On November 22, 2017, California federal judge Beth Labson Freeman transferred the putative class action against Riddell and its parent company BRG Sports Inc. to Illinois. Former college football players had brought the suit against Riddell and BRG Sports, alleging that the companies lied about the protection its helmets offered against concussions. The case also alleged that Riddell and BRG Sports used a shaky study to advertise unsafe helmets and failed to upgrade the designs to prevent concussions. Judge Freeman decided the proper venue for…
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Former Player Objects to Class Counsel Fee Request in NCAA Deal

Despite a final approval on the settlement for the class of former football players’ suit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for its handling of concussions, there is still a dispute over how much the class counsel should get for attorney fees. Class counsel requested $15 million for attorney fees, but a former college football player, Anthony Nichols, told the judge that the counsel should not get more than $8 million. Nichols based this number off of the fact that the initial settlement had…
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Dropping The Gloves: NHL Fights Back at Player’s Bid to Exclude Expert Testimony

The NHL has responded to a bid to remove expert testimony the league believes improves their attempt to defeat class certification. The NHL’s response is the latest development in the December bid to certify a class by the league’s former players who claim that the league failed to warn them of the various known risks and diseases associated with repeated head trauma. The players believe the league’s expert testimony is cumulative and will confuse a jury due to its amount of similar and supposedly irrelevant…
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Student-Athletes Want Schools Held in Contempt

Seven NCAA schools failed to meet the court’s deadline to turn over their athlete contact information. The student-athletes that comprise of the 4.4 million member class want the schools to be forced to explain why they missed the deadline. The student information is needed for the proposed concussion settlement process. On June 6, 2017, Judge John Lee extended the opt out or objection date for the NCAA concussion settlement. This settlement has been in the works for some time, but without the cooperation of…
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