Update: Judge Denies Special Investigator in NFL Concussion Settlement

Recently, a judge denied the NFL’s Request to hire a special investigator in the billion-dollar concussion settlement case. According to Judge Anita B. Brody, “[t]he NFL Parties have provided sufficient evidence of possible fraud to warrant serious concern … however, the Claims Administrator and Special Masters have demonstrated that they are capable of ferreting out any claims involving misrepresentations, omissions, or concealment of material fact, and ensuring that those claims are not paid.” As we have previously reported, counsel representing the NFL asked Judge…
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Former NFL Players Demand Certainty, Haste in Assessment of Fraud Allegations in $1 Billion Settlement

On April 23, 2018, counsel for former NFL football players involved in the $1 billion concussion settlement filed a motion opposing a Pennsylvania court’s ruling which allowed the NFL to conduct ex parte interviews with the doctors who treated the players. As we have previously covered, the release of settlements had been slowed due to potentially fraudulent claims, allegedly “clogging the system,” and delaying relief to former players who had legitimate injuries. The motion filed by the Neurocognitive Football Lawyers (NCFL) sought to address…
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NFL Seeks Special Investigator to Query Fraud in Billion Dollar Concussion Settlement

On April 13, 2018, the NFL filed a motion seeking the appointment of a special investigator to more closely examine potentially fraudulent concussion claims that may be “clogging the system” of the $1 billion settlement. Of the 2,000 plus claims submitted to date, about 46 percent indicate the presence of fraud, according to the motion. The NFL maintains that a new investigator will have the appropriate resources to uncover intentional fraud, which the current claims administrator does not have the capacity to do. Specifically, the…
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Harvard Law Professor Changes His Mind Regarding Attorney’s Fees

As we have previously reported, back in September 2017, Judge Anita B. Brody appointed Harvard Law School professor William B. Rubenstein to address questions surrounding the $112.5 million settlement in the NFL concussion litigation. The final settlement established an uncapped fund that would compensate a class of over 20,000 former NFL players. In May 2017, a collection of law firms representing the players, filed a petition seeking $112.5 million common-benefit fee to compensate the class of attorneys. In his original assessment, Professor Rubenstein said…
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Harvard Law Professor’s Assessment on Attorney’s Fees Sparks Opposition

As we previously reported, lingering issues over the NFL concussion litigation settlement have reemerged. The final settlement established an uncapped fund that would last over a 65-year period, to compensate a class of over 20,000 former NFL players. In May 2017, a collection of law firms representing the players, filed a petition seeking $112.5 million common-benefit fee to compensate the class of attorneys. Unlike traditional common-fund cases where the common-benefit fees are calculated as a percentage of total recovery; in this case, the NFL
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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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Ex-Players Argue NFL Moving the Goalposts on Requirements to Get Settlement Share

Sixteen retired NFL players urged a Pennsylvania federal court on Monday, November 13, 2017, to overturn a claims administrator’s changes to how claims are processed under a settlement agreement for brain injuries. The NFL reached the estimated $1 billion settlement in the concussion suit four years ago, and began accepting claims against the settlement eight months ago. Of the 1,400 players awarded damages from the league as part of the settlement, only 140 have gotten any sort of payout from the NFL. The court…
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NFL Tackles Claims by Players Who Opted-Out of Concussion Settlement

The NFL requested on Monday, September 25, 2017 that a Pennsylvania federal court dismiss claims by former players who had opted out of an uncapped settlement agreement with the league. The players who had opted out had filed their second amended complaint in July, alleging that the league purposely concealed the long-term risks associated with head injuries and failed to implement proper safety measures to protect players. The NFL argued the new complaint presents claims dependent upon an interpretation of the terms of numerous health…
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Investigation into Deceptive Practices Around NFL Concussion Settlement Continues

Judge Anita Brody, who is overseeing a large NFL concussion settlement, told lawyers on Wednesday that they could look into whether companies are duping a few hundred former NFL players into signing contracts for unneeded services. Judge Brody had already sent out a notice in July to eligible players telling them she would hold a hearing concerning these deceptive practices in September, and, at the hearing on Tuesday, repeatedly asked plaintiffs’ lawyers how she could help. Judge Brody could potentially void any agreements found to…
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NFL Players’ Counsel Demand Answers from Attorney in Concussion Suit for Alleged Misrepresentations

On September 12, 2017, class counsel for former NFL players in the concussion suit against the NFL stated that an attorney made communications about the settlement program to class members that may have resulted in them taking action against their self-interest. The suit against the NFL for negligently handling the relationship between Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and repeated head trauma sustained by the former players’ profession resulted in a settlement that was approved in April 2015. The settlement could result in paying out more than…
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