By Ken Reed
A federal judge denied preliminary approval of the settlement of a concussion lawsuit brought by 4,500 former NFL players against the NFL due to fears the settlement doesn’t include enough money to compensate all injured players properly.
“I am primarily concerned that not all Retired NFL Football Players who ultimately receive a Qualifying Diagnosis or their related claimants will be paid,” wrote federal judge Anita Brody in her opinion.
Numerous players, reporters and legal observers have raised questions about the relatively small settlement amount ($760 million) given the scope of the situation. For example, based on current claims from former NFL players, the settlement should be $1 billion plus, according to ESPN investigative reporters Steve Fanairu and Mark Fanairu-Wada.
“Even if only 10 percent of Retired NFL Football Players eventually receive a Qualifying Diagnosis, it is difficult to see how the Monetary Award Fund would have the funds available over its lifespan to pay all claimants at these significant award levels,” wrote Brody.
The settlement isn’t dead. Brody asked both sides to bring back documentation and evidence proving that the settlement is sufficient to pay its obligations. If they can do that, the settlement will proceed along the approval path.
However, it is a major setback for the settlement this early in the process.
Here’s Brody’s opinion.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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