Flag on the Play – District Court Judge Rejects NFL Concussion Settlement Plan

Last fall the NFL and 4,500 ex-NFL players reached a proposed settlement deal of $765 million to end the ongoing multi-district concussion litigation.  In the underlying case, the NFL alumni accused the league of intentionally downplaying the risks of concussions and their correlation to later-life cognitive decline.  In addition to the $765 million sum, the NFL was slated to pay out $112 million in additional funds in plaintiffs’ attorney fees. However, on January 14, 2014, Judge Anita Brody for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania officially…
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Johnny Depp Settles Bodyguard Lawsuit

According to TMZ, Johnny Depp settled a case brought against him concerning the alleged actions of his bodyguards.  Rather than fighting it out in court, Depp and the other defendants reached an agreement with Robin Eckert for an undisclosed amount. In December 2011, Depp attended an Iggy Pop concert in Los Angeles.  Allegedly, Eckert, who was seated next to Depp, was thrown to the ground by Depp’s bodyguards after dancing too close to the movie star.  Eckert claimed the bodyguards caused her pants to…
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Judges’ Panel Creates New Multi-District Litigation for NCAA Concussion Cases

A panel of federal judges recently ruled that ten class-action lawsuits brought against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) will be consolidated into a single multi-district litigation in Chicago.  In essence, each suit alleges that the NCAA intentionally concealed the long term-risks of concussions sustained by student athletes in a variety of college sports.  The consolidation follows in the wake of the recent $765 million settlement of the NFL’s concussion litigation, a nearly identical action brought against the league by over 4,500 former NFL alumni.…
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Concerns Raised Over Attorney Compensation in NFL Concussion Litigation Settlement

Around four months ago it was announced that over 4,500 NFL player plaintiffs and the League reached a $765 million settlement resolving the ongoing multi-district concussion litigation in Pennsylvania District Court.  In brief, the plaintiffs alleged that the NFL intentionally concealed the long-term risks of head injuries and concussions and their role in later-life cognitive decline. However, U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has yet to approve the settlement agreement, partly due to issues concerning attorney compensation.  It was…
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Are Concussion Problems Heading to MLB as First Former Major Leaguer is Posthumously Diagnosed with CTE?

Researchers at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy announced that former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”) at the time of his suicide last December.  He is the first MLB player to be officially diagnosed with the disease. CTE is a brain injury associated with repetitive brain trauma (such as concussions) which causes the abnormal build-up of tau proteins in the brain.  Early symptoms of the disease include erratic behavior and memory loss, but it…
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Fines Drop, but Study Finds Dangerous Hits Still Prevalent in NFL

A recent study by the AP analyzed the rate at which NFL players experience dangerous hits by reviewing 549 penalties called through the first 11 weeks of the 2013 football season.  It found that over the first 162 games of the year, 156 of the penalties studied involved contact with the head and neck.  Statistically, this means that nearly once per game, an NFL player receives a blow to the head or neck that could have serious health and/or career consequences.  The numbers also revealed…
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Is it the NHL’s Turn to Take a Hit on Concussions?

On November 25, the National Hockey League was sued by 10 former players in a class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.  Plaintiffs – which include NHL alumni such as Gary Leeman, Curt Bennett and Richie Dunn – assert that the NHL hasn’t done enough to protect players from the dangers posed by concussions. Similar to the several thousand plaintiffs who recently settled the concussion litigation against the NFL (for $765 million), these former NHL alums assert that “The NHL’s…
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Did Concussion Lawsuits Deal a Fatal Blow to Helmet Manufacturer’s Deal with the NFL?

Riddell, Inc. was contractually granted the rights to be the official helmet supplier of the NFL in perpetuity in 1989, over 20 years ago.  However, on Thursday, October 24, 2013, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed that the NFL had negotiated to end its business relationship with the helmet manufacturer at the end of the 2013 NFL season. Riddell initially resisted the NFL’s withdrawal from their contractual relationship, but was ultimately unsuccessful in thwarting the NFL’s designs.  A statement made by Roger Goodell at a youth…
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Concussion Controversy: Is the NHL Next?

As previously reported by the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider, the NFL’s recent settlement of the concussion class action brought by former pro players, the pending suits by former college football players against the NCAA and helmet manufacturer Riddell, and the wrongful death action by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died after repeated head injuries suffered on the field, among others, all beg the question: When — not if — will hockey see a rash of concussion-related litigation? Both the…
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NY Judge Says Dr. Oz’s Viewers Are Not His Patients

A New York State court judge declined to view Dr. Mehmet Oz’s audience as patients.  As a result, the judge dismissed one viewer’s claim against Dr. Oz for providing negligent medical advice on his TV show. In March 2013, Frank Dietl filed suit against Dr. Oz claiming he suffered second and third-degree burns on his feet by following the doctor’s advice.  After viewing an episode on insomnia, Dietl tried the suggested remedy to cure sleeplessness caused by cold feet. Dr. Oz recommended putting uncooked rice…
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