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SBD/January 7, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Retirees Seek Preliminary Court Approval Of NFL Concussions Settlement
Published January 7, 2014
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COULD BE A GOOD DEAL FOR SOME PLAYERS: Attorney Jon King, who is repping former NFLer Craig Morton in a separate lawsuit against the NFL over concussions, in an e-mail wrote, “This may well be a good deal for certain players that qualify at the highest possible levels of this settlement. That will be an individual decision that every player will need to make. The NFL, of course, could settle with any individual former player, at any time, for any personal injuries, for any dollar amount. If the NFL was truly concerned about any particular players’ health situations, it could do just that, and still can do that at any time. But again, what the NFL really is after here is the global release.” By global release, King means that players who agree to the settlement give up their rights to sue the NFL over the issue. Players have to notify the court in writing to opt out. The settlement papers filed by the retirees' counsel say the settlement fund would last 65 years and cover retirees who develop illnesses in future years. Chris Seeger, the lead settlement counsel, is planning to speak to the media today at 12:30pm ET about the filings. The motion seeks preliminary approval from the court, as well as a schedule for hearing dates. In a statement released yesterday, Seeger said, “Both the baseline assessment and compensation programs were designed to protect retired players over the long-term, ensuring that these important benefits will be available to any eligible retired player who needs them.”
ADVERTISING PART OF SETTLEMENT: The court on Dec. 16 appointed a Special Master, Perry Golkin, to help it analyze the proposed settlement. The NFL as part of the proposed settlement has agreed to spend $4M on advertising to its retirees in forums ranging from SI to nursing home trade journals. If the court preliminarily approves the settlement, a fairness hearing must be held in which settlement members can object. Then the court must decide whether to certify the settlement.