Some ex-NFL players seek to re-work $1 billion concussion settlement

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:53pm EST
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By Natalie Pompilio

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Lawyers representing some former NFL players urged a federal appeals court on Thursday to scrap the league's $1 billion concussion settlement because it does not cover potential victims of a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated blows to the head.

The deal should include future payments for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease found in a growing number of players after their deaths, the lawyers told the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

The settlement unfairly favors currently injured retirees and ignores a potential 19,000 players who have yet to be diagnosed with neurological diseases, critics of the deal claim.

About 5,000 players are part of a class-action lawsuit that contends the National Football League was deceptive in hiding the dangers of concussive brain injuries.

The current deal, approved by April by Federal District Court Judge Anita Brody, provides payments of up to $5 million for former players diagnosed with certain neurological disorders. It also provides medical monitoring and concussion education.

About 99 percent of the class members accepted the deal, meaning they have not opted out. If approved in its current form, the settlement could cost the NFL $1 billion.

The small number of dissenters say it is a mistake to not include CTE and its symptoms, which include suicidal thoughts.

Autopsies found that some former NFL players who have committed suicide, including Junior Seau in 2012 and Adrian Robinson in 2015, had contracted CTE.   Continued...