SBD/February 1, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Federal Panel Consolidates Former NFL Players' Concussion Lawsuits

A panel of federal judges yesterday agreed to "consolidate four concussion-related lawsuits facing the NFL into one massive pre-trial case -- and is expected to soon do the same with at least 16 related suits," according to Adam Beasley of the MIAMI HERALD. The decision "sets the stage for a fierce legal showdown in Philadelphia between the NFL and many of its former players." More than 600 former players and their wives "have sued the league, alleging that the repeated head injuries suffered while playing football led to serious health issues later in life, including memory loss, migraine headaches and depression." The plaintiffs will "now marshal forces in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where Judge Anita Brody has agreed to take on the high-profile affair." The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation "found that the four complaints in question involved common questions of facts." The panel also "chose to keep the cases against the NFL bundled together with those against equipment maker Riddell, the league’s official helmet provider that had asked to be considered separately." The NFL is "expected to request that all concussion-related complaints be dismissed" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/1).
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