U.S. judge rejects $760 million NFL concussion settlement
By Scott Malone
(Reuters) - A $760 million settlement between the National Football League and thousands of former players, who contend the league downplayed the risk of concussions, was rejected on Tuesday by a U.S. judge who said it might not be enough to pay all of the affected players.
The proposed deal, reached in August, had set aside up to $5 million for each former player diagnosed with a certain brain condition as a result of their years on the playing field.
More than 4,500 former players were named plaintiffs in the lawsuit and up to 20,000 could ultimately be eligible for payment.
"I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis, or their related claimants, will be paid," U.S. District Judge Anita Brody wrote in papers filed in federal court in Philadelphia.
"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," the decision said.
Brody called on the NFL and plaintiffs to submit documentation that they believed showed the money set aside was adequate to meet the potential need.
"They are going to have to come back with a different settlement," said Joseph Farelli, a partner in the New York law firm Pitta & Giblin, which specializes in labor law. "She is saying the amount is not going to cover the people they say are going to be covered by the settlement."
An NFL spokesman had no immediate comment on the decision. Continued...