Former NFLers Involved With Concussion Settlement Say League Is Stalling On Payments
The families of debilitated former NFLers "say the league is obstructing their access" to an estimated $1B settlement over concussions by "reflexively rejecting valid claims and bogging down the process with unreasonable demands," according to a front-page piece by Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. The families and their lawyers "describe a succession of roadblocks as they try to claim payouts, from as little as a few thousand dollars to potentially several million dollars." Of 1,400 claims "filed so far, 140 have been approved, which legal experts say is startlingly low." The remaining 90% of those claims are in the "process of being evaluated or have been sent back to the players and their lawyers to amend before they can be approved." The 140 approved claims are worth $195M, but the NFL has "written checks" for only $100M. The remainder is "expected to be released after appeals are exhausted." The league has "appealed eight awards that the administrator granted, and 12 players have appealed their awards, calling them too low." Lawyers for the players said that the NFL "installed so many safeguards and trapdoors into the deal" that many players "have been forced to spend months scrounging for paperwork they did not think they had to keep, finding new doctors to confirm established diagnoses and lodging time-consuming appeals." Orran Brown, the court-approved administrator of the settlement, said that he "understood that players and their lawyers might view these additional requirements with suspicion." But he added that they were "part of an effort to prevent fraud, not block real claims." Brown: "It does seem people feel they are being nickeled and dimed on paperwork. But there’s nothing nefarious or conspiratorial in this" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/14).