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Brain Injury Lawsuit Update: Revised Settlement Agreement Between The NFL & Retired Football Players Approved

If you follow our blog, you know that we've been following the developments of the lawsuit filed by former NFL players against the NFL regarding permanent head injuries suffered by the football players.  The players alleged that the NFL knew about the dangers and link between head trauma sustained while playing and permanent brain injuries, but failed to take appropriate measures to protect the players. See NFL Faces Lawsuit Related to Concussions and Permanent Brain Injuries From Former Football Players.

Earlier this year, we told you about the proposed settlement of $764 million between the parties, which was submitted to a federal judge for approval.  However, the proposed agreement was rejected by the judge.

The federal judge, Anita Brody, was concerned that the settlement amount was insufficient to cover every player, i.e., players not part of the lawsuit, who may need aid and medical treatment.  In addition, she was concerned that the proposed cap on treatment amounts for players would not be enough to provide treatment over the course of a player’s lifetime.

Judge Brody asked the parties to provide documentation showing that the proposed settlement will be enough to cover all eligible parties/football players.  See Federal Judge Rejects $765 Million Settlement Agreement Between The NFL & Retired Injured Football Players Over Head Injuries.

Last month, the parties submitted a revised settlement agreement, and earlier this month, Judge Brody approved the preliminary settlement agreement.  * Source: www.nytimes.com (Altered N.F.L. Settlement Wins Judge’s Approval)

The revised settlement addressed Judge Brody's concerns and removed the capped amount of medical treatments players may receive.  The NFL promises to pay an unlimited amount of awards to players with certain severe neurological conditions.

Judge Brody wrote in her approval, “[t]he revised proposed settlement is a significant improvement over the proposed settlement presented in January.  The parties have satisfied my concern on this fundamental issue.”

However, the NFL will be able to contest requests for award by retired players to prevent fraudulent claims.  Like the original settlement agreement, players may opt out of the agreement and preserve their legal rights.  They may also object to parts of the agreement.

The players will have a chance to review the agreement and will receive a packet that explains the agreement.  Then in November, Judge Brody will hold a hearing in Philadelphia to determine whether the class of retirees has been fairly represented.

Stayed tuned for updates on this case.

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