Seven retired NFL players are objecting to a proposed settlement of concussion claims, calling it a “lousy deal” for ex-players whose symptoms don’t qualify them for compensation.
The players’ lawyers filed a motion in federal court in Philadelphia on Wednesday urging a judge to reject the settlement between the NFL and as many as 20,000 retired players. The settlement provides up to $5 million each for retired players who develop Lou Gehrig’s disease, dementia or other neurological problems believed to be caused by concussions suffered during their pro careers.
The deal excludes players with symptoms of a degenerative brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, those suffering from milder brain injuries and veterans of the defunct NFL Europe, the players’ objection said. The players also said that the proposed claims process is onorous and confusing and that attorneys for the plaintiffs failed to conduct any discovery in the case.
“The revised settlement is a great deal — for the NFL and class counsel,” who would get $112.5 million in attorneys’ fees, the players’ motion said. “It is a lousy deal for the retired players, whose rights have been bargained away without adequate or independent representation.”
A spokesman for the plaintiffs’ attorneys declined to comment on Thursday, referring to an earlier statement touting the deal. An NFL spokesman also declined to comment.
More than 4,500 former players have filed suit, some accusing the league of fraud for its handling of concussions. They include former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett and Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who suffers from dementia.
A revised settlement agreement filed last week removed a $675 million cap on damages after U.S. District Judge Anita Brody questioned whether there would be enough money to pay all claims.
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