Update: Arguments Heard on Special Investigator in NFL Concussion Settlement
As we have previously reported, the NFL continues to sort through the claimants involved in its billion dollar concussion settlement. The claimants are former NFL players and families of deceased players seeking to recover against the NFL for concussive injuries resulting from their time spent playing for the league.
On May 30, 2018, counsel for the NFL, Richard Tarlowe, asked a Pennsylvania federal judge during arguments to bolster the investigation of legitimate claims by supplementing the process with an additional investigator. Recent audits completed by the settlement administrator revealed that approximately 440 of the 2000 plus submitted claims were potentially fraudulent, as they contained omissions or material misrepresentations. If approved, the special investigator would be tasked with assessing whether the fraudulent claims were driven by any purposeful intent.
Tarlowe contended that the concern is not one to be glossed over. “We are talking about significant evidence of widespread fraud. We’re not talking about a difference in medical opinion,” he stated. In support of this, he provided details of allegedly fraudulent conduct demonstrated by doctors, attorneys for potential claimants, and former players. One particular doctor was mentioned for documenting evaluations lasting seven to 12 hours at a time, whilst somehow approving up to eight patients each day.
In asking the court for further support in the investigation, Tarlowe provided that the settlement administrator is simply unequipped to handle the mass of potentially fraudulent claims in a timely fashion, and an additional investigator would be able to quicken the process, with accuracy. Counsel for the former players responded that the process is moving too slowly already and that a special investigation would only continue to delay the payout to legitimate claimants.