Earlier this week, another group of former players sued the NFL, alleging that the league failed to properly deal with the issue of concussions. The players, including former NFL running backs Jamal Lewis and Dorsey Levens, filed their claim in Atlanta.
On Thursday night, another 21 players filed suit in Miami. Like several similar suits filed in recent months by former players, the latest lawsuit alleges that NFL officials knew about the risks related to concussions and deliberately ignored and concealed them.
The plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit include Leon Searcy, Patrick Surtain (pictured), Oronde Gadsden, Lamar Thomas, and Troy Drayton.
In all of the lawsuits alleging that the league didn’t do enough to protect players from concussions, the fact-finding process will focus on when the league knew or should have known about the risks associated with concussions — and when the league took appropriate action to protect the players. Those two dates will create a window of potential liability to former players who can show that they suffered concussions and that the league failed to inform them of the risks and/or to protect them sufficiently after the league knew that concussions were a potential long-term health problem.
Along with the lawsuits filed this week in Atlanta and Miami, other lawsuits have been filed in Philadelphia and California. Players who have joined the effort include Jim McMahon, Mike Furrey, Mark Duper, and Rodney Hampton.
“The NFL is a nine billion dollar per-year enterprise,” Ricardo Martinez-Cid, attorney for the plaintiffs and partner at the Miami-based law firm of Podhurst Orseck, said in a press release relating to the new lawsuit. “They knew for decades that repeated blows to the head would lead to serious life-threatening and chronic injuries, yet they intentionally turned a blind eye and led players to believe they were okay to keep playing because they didn’t want to risk losing money in their coffers.”
The NFL now faces losing money in its coffers via significant legal fees and, eventually, settlements or verdicts.