Former NFLer Craig Morton Sues League Over Attempts To Hide Dangers Of Playing
Former NFLer Craig Morton filed a lawsuit yesterday in a California federal court alleging the NFL hid the damages of playing football and caused him to suffer long-term injuries. It is the first concussion lawsuit filed against the NFL since the league in September announced a $765M settlement with thousands of other players who filed lawsuits nearly identical to Morton's. That settlement, which has yet to be approved by the court, would cover all players unless they opt out. But Jon King, Morton's attorney, wrote in an e-mail, "To us, it’s still a mystery as to who will be covered, and what they will be offered. Meanwhile, no evidence is being gathered and things are stagnating. So we feel obligated to get moving." Morton had not previously been part of a concussion lawsuit against the NFL. King and Morton’s other lawyer, former NFLer Robert Stein, also represent retirees who are disaffected and appealing the NFL Films settlement. That $50M settlement, which has been filed, seeks to end allegations the NFL was illegally using former player images in NFL Films. Morton’s lawsuit is not the first one filed by former players alleging concussion injury since the September settlement announcement -- five former Chiefs earlier this month sued the team in Missouri state court. Morton's lawsuit currently has him as the only plaintiff. His career lasted 18 years and ended in '82. One of the criticisms of the proposed concussion settlement is the NFL admitted no wrongdoing and discovery was prevented. That could then happen with Morton's lawsuit, though the NFL would almost certainly use the same legal defense it had used previously: the CBAs former players signed precludes such lawsuits. Instead, the NFL has said former players need to use arbitration procedures outlined in the labor agreements.