Preliminary Approval Given For NFL Concussion Settlement
By Allen Kim
Months after the original agreement to settle the class-action concussion lawsuit was rejected, Judge Anita Brody has given preliminary approval on an uncapped settlement while also striking a waiver for the NCAA and other football leagues.
“A class action settlement that offers prompt relief is superior to the likely alternative — years of expensive, difficult, and uncertain litigation, with no assurance of recovery, while retired players' physical and mental conditions continue to deteriorate,” Brody wrote.
All class members now have the option to opt out or reject the settlement. However, any members of the suit are being prevented from pursuing any litigation until the players officially opt out, final approval is given or the settlement is terminated.
The previous deal was capped at $675 million in compensatory claims to players, but Brody rejected that deal over fears that enough money would be available to pay out all the claims. $75 million was to go toward baseline testing, $10 million for medical research and education, and $112 million to the lawyers representing the players in the case, totaling $870 million. The new deal is expected to last at least 65 years, with at least $1 million being paid out to any retirees that develop any significant neurological problems.
“This is an extraordinary settlement for retired NFL players and their families — from those who suffer with neuro-cognitive illnesses today, to those who are currently healthy but fear they may develop symptoms decades into the future,” Sol Weiss and Christopher Seeger, attorney to the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
A fairness hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 19. Judge Brody will still have to give final approval for the deal after the players have had an opportunity to opt out or reject the settlement.