Seven NFL Veterans File Detailed Objection to Concussion Litigation Settlement
October 07, 2014 Business News(PRLEAP.COM) National Litigation Firm MoloLamken LLP Represents Players in Seeking a Fair Deal
NEW YORK – October 7, 2014 – The national litigation firm MoloLamken LLP announced today the filing of its Objection to the final approval of the NFL concussion class action litigation Settlement. The Objection, filed on behalf of seven former NFL players – Sean Morey, Alan Faneca, Ben Hamilton, Robert Royal, Roderick Cartwright, Jeff Rohrer, and Sean Considine – challenges the Settlement as unfair, inadequate, and unreasonable.
The Settlement is pending before the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, where a final Fairness Hearing is scheduled to be held on November 18, 2014. The 88-page Objection is the most comprehensive legal analysis and criticism of the Settlement to be filed with the court to date.
The Objectors played, on average, eight years in the league and include collegiate All-Americans, team captains, Pro-Bowlers, and Super Bowl Champions. The seven are inviting other former players to join them in objecting.
"The Objection addresses serious legal flaws in the Settlement. It is a terrible deal for the players," said Steven Molo, counsel to the objectors.
The Objection argues that a significant percentage of the class was not adequately represented in the settlement negotiations and litigation. It points to three specific shortcomings as evidence of that: the failure to compensate former players diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE); the imposition of a 75% reduction in monetary awards to players who suffered strokes or non-NFL incurred traumatic brain injuries; and the failure to credit players for time played in NFL Europe.
The Objection argues, "the rights of a significant percentage of class members were bargained away without representation by a representative class member or counsel." Neither of the two class representative plaintiffs alleges he has CTE or is at increased risk of getting CTE, neither is subject to the 75% reductions, and neither played in NFL Europe.
"The lawyers who were appointed to represent the class have admitted 'CTE is believed to be the most serious and harmful disease that results from NFL and concussions,'" Molo said. "Yet the Settlement fails those suffering from CTE – which has become the industrial disease of football."
"The family of a player who died with CTE before July 7, 2014 may receive a monetary award of up to $4 million. The family of a player who dies with CTE after that date gets no award. That is fundamentally unfair," he added.
The Objection also highlights the Settlement's unnecessarily complex and confusing claims process and notes that it is particularly burdensome for former players suffering cognitive challenges. The claims process is also faulted for using inappropriate medical testing that disqualifies a significant percentage of players for compensation.
One of the nation's foremost researchers on CTE, Dr. Robert A. Stern of the Boston University School of Medicine, submitted a sworn declaration in support of the Objection. Dr. Stern concludes that the Settlement's Baseline Assessment Program is flawed as a matter of design and will deprive deserving class members of compensation.
The Objection further explains that the Settlement's flaws have been compounded by the use of misleading information to notify the class of their rights.
The Objection is also critical of the lawyers appointed to represent the class having negotiated a nine-figure attorney fee award without having taken depositions of NFL officials or conducted any other formal discovery in the case.
The Court has set an October 14, 2014 deadline for any objection or opt-out from the proposed class.
The Objectors are asking the court to reject the Settlement. They are seeking a modified settlement that provides more equitable compensation across the class of approximately 20,000 retired players who will be giving up their right to sue the NFL over concealed dangers of head injuries as part of the compromise.
Those wishing to support the objection can go to www.mololamken.com for more information.
Contact: Steven F. Molo, 212-607-6701, firstname.lastname@example.org
MoloLamken is a leading litigation boutique focused exclusively on representing clients in complex business litigation, white-collar criminal defense litigation, and intellectual property litigation. The firm handles civil as well as criminal and regulatory matters, and provides experienced advocacy before both trial and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Founded in 2009, MoloLamken has offices in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.