Federal Judge Dismisses Two Ex-NHL Players’ Concussion Lawsuits

A Minnesota federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the NHL by two former players, finding that the court lacks jurisdiction over the suit. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson dismissed two lawsuits, filed by Andre Deveaux and Todd Harvey, without prejudice. Judge Nelson reasoned that the players lacked a connection to Minnesota for jurisdiction. Deveaux and Harvey never played for a Minnesota hockey team, nor did they present enough evidence linking them to the state. As we previously reported, Judge Nelson oversaw a…
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NFL Insurers Seek to Avoid Reimbursing the NFL for Concussion Settlement Due to Missing Discovery

Insurers for the National Football League (NFL) petitioned a New York state court judge on June 14, 2019, demanding “underlying documents” from the NFL’s litigation and settlement in the class-action lawsuit involving over 1,000 former professional football players and their families regarding concussions and chronic brain trauma. The insurers are seeking to escape reimbursing the NFL, which could prompt further litigation. In oral arguments, a coalition of 28 insurers claimed that the NFL did not produce adequate discovery during litigation after its concussion settlement
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Former Northwestern University Football Player Sues NCAA

On March 18, 2019, former Northwestern University football player, Jay Tant, filed a proposed concussion class action lawsuit against the NCAA. In the class action suit, Tant alleged that the NCAA failed to protect the school’s players from the dangers of concussion and head injuries despite knowing the risks. According to Tant, the NCAA knew, since 1933, of the dangers of concussions and the long-term risks they posed to student-athletes however, the NCAA only began to implement concussion protocols in 2010. Tant, a standout tight…
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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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