In August of 2013, the NFL and a approximately 5,000 former players, who contend the league downplayed the risk of concussions, reached a $765 million settlement on the concussion lawsuit. The proposed deal, reached in August, had set aside up to $5 million for each former player diagnosed with a certain type of brain condition as a result of their years on the playing field.
Recently, however, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody rejected the settlement, “fearing the sum may not be enough to cover injured players.” Brody is “primarily concerned” that the retired players covered in the lawsuit wouldn’t be. “I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their (families) … will be paid,” Brody wrote in an opinion she filed on Tuesday morning.
This is part of the process. As attorney Turner Broughton told CBSSports.com following the initial settlement, the hearing that took place before Judge Brody wasn’t just to “rubber-stamp” the settlement. Brody has to “look at and it has to analyze whether the settlement is fair and reasonable and meets those factors.”
None of this means the settlement is off. Tweaks can be made. Christopher Seeger, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs said in a statement, “analysis from economists, actuaries and medical experts” will prove that the settlement will take care of the players in question. We are confident that the settlement will be approved after the Court conducts its due diligence on the fairness and adequacy of the proposed agreement. Analysis from economists, actuaries and medical experts will confirm that the programs established by the settlement will be sufficiently funded to meet their obligations for all eligible retired players. We look forward to working with the Court and Special Master to address their concerns, as they rightfully ensure all class members are protected.”