SBD/Closing Bell

California Court Stays NFL Suit Against Insurers While N.Y. Case Heard

A California state court last week stayed an NFL lawsuit against a group of its insurers, ruling the case could be put on hold while a similar case is heard in N.Y. In that case, the insurers are suing the NFL, seeking to be exempted from covering any concussion litigation liability. The NFL is suing its insurers to force coverage in the event the league loses the concussion lawsuits filed now by more than 3,700 former players, wives and estates.

The NFL brought the claim against the insurers earlier this year. However, on Nov. 29, Judge John Wiley of California Superior Court granted motions by the defendants, filed in September, to stay the case until the New York one is resolved. “The NFL’s choice of California is selective and tactical,” Judge Wiley ruled. “The NFL moved the underlying (concussion) litigation in this very dispute from California to Pennsylvania. This fact makes this case unlike any precedent the NFL cites, for it shows the NFL’s forum decision here is not the product of some general and consistent preference for California.”

He set Nov. 15, 2013, as the deadline for a joint status report from the parties, and Dec. 10, 2013, for a status hearing. The insurers include Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., TIG Insurance and Alterra America Insurance. In all there are 20 insurers named as defendants in the California lawsuit. The N.Y. lawsuit is in the state Supreme Court.
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