SBD/January 14, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Judge Declines To Preliminary Approve Proposed NFL Concussion Settlement

Federal court judge Anita Brody in a surprising move this morning declined to preliminarily approve the proposed $760M settlement of the NFL concussion litigation, which was announced to great fanfare in August. "In light of my duty to protect the rights of all potential class members and the insufficiency of the current record, I will deny the Motion without prejudice,” Brody wrote in her opinion. Without prejudice means the motion to approve can be resubmitted. “I am primarily concerned that not all Retired NFL Football Players who ultimately receive a Qualifying Diagnosis or their related claimants will be paid,” she wrote. “The Settlement fixes the size of the Monetary Award Fund.” Brody continued, “In various hypothetical scenarios, the Monetary Award Fund may lack the necessary funds to pay Monetary Awards for Qualifying Diagnoses. More specifically, the Settlement contemplates a $675 million Monetary Award Fund with a 65-year lifespan for a Settlement Class of approximately 20,000 people.” Brody wrote that while the plaintiffs’ counsel said in their motion Jan. 6 seeking preliminary approval that their economists conducted analysis that the money would be sufficient, such analysis was not attached to the motion. She then ordered the plaintiffs to supply proof that the amount of money would cover the retirees over 65 years.
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