Former players sought $2 billion in NFL concussion case

The players may have accepted a lesser deal over fears of having multiple plaintiffs thrown out

Last week, the National Football League (NFL) and a class of former NFL players agreed on a $765 million settlement stemming from a complaint that the league did not perform due diligence in preventing head injuries.

Many outside sources indicated that the payout, which would ultimately cost each NFL owner a little more than $30 million, highly favored the league. Apparently, many of the suit’s players agree.

According to an ESPN report, the players initially sought $2 billion in the settlement, over 100 percent more than the class ultimately received. The source claims the NFL was unwilling to offer more than a token settlement, however, and wished to take the case to trial. One attorney for the player’s side says the NFL countered with “peanuts.”

Speculation for why the players accepted the neutered deal comes from statements by the mediator, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody. Brody has signaled that she was likely to side with at least part of the NFL’s argument, which claimed some players covered by the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Player’s Union should not be allowed to enter the suit. The ESPN report says this would have likely eliminated all NFL players active between 1994 and 2010, the period in the center of the suit.

If that large subset of players were removed, the remaining plaintiffs may have had a tough time arguing fraud. The NFL did not form its controversial concussion committee until 1994.

Brody still has to approve the deal, brought just before her imposed deadline of Sept. 3. Lawyers for both sides expect an acceptance within two weeks.

 

For more sports in the legal world, check out these InsideCounsel stories:

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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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