Retired NFL players who have been waiting since August 2013 for concussion settlement proceeds will be waiting even longer.
Nine former NFL players have filed yet another appeal regarding the settlement, seeking a rehearing before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit regarding the recent decision of a three-judge panel to uphold agreement to provide retired players with certain specific health conditions.
Via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, the nine players who have decided to continue the objection to the settlement include Cleo Miller, Judson Flint, Elmer Underwood, Vincent Clark Sr., Ken Jones, Fred Smerlas, Jim Rourke, Lou Piccone, and James David Wilkins II. Their lawyer, John Pentz, now claims that, because the science regarding Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy is in its infancy, the class action lacks an adequate representative plaintiff because it cannot be determined with sufficiency that any of the living plaintiffs have CTE.
But here’s the problem. How could a jury be expected to award damages to any living former player with CTE if there’s no way to prove that the player has CTE? Moreover, with no way to link CTE to specific future conditions or symptoms, it will become even harder to determine a proper award if the case proceeds.
Meanwhile, former players with real, significant conditions continue to have their compensation tied up in court as a small handful of players delay the resolution of the settlement.
“We believe the Third Circuit should deny the request for [a] rehearing, as these objections have now been heard and overruled by both the District Court and a three judge panel from the Third Circuit,” lead plaintiff’s counsel Christopher Seeger said in a statement. “This meritless appeal carries devastating consequences for the thousands of retired NFL players suffering from neurocognitive injuries, and those concerned about their future, as they will be forced to wait even longer for the immediate care and support they need and deserve. This latest appeal is heartbreaking news for the 99 percent of the retired player community that has supported this agreement. We will continue to forcefully defend this important settlement through the appeals process.”
When considering the slim chance of overturning the pending outcome, the slim chance of overcoming each and every legal obstacle the league will place in the plaintiffs’ path if the settlement is scrapped and litigation continues, and the amount of time it would take to resolve the case through litigation, it makes sense for the nine men who continue to impede the settlement to accept the outcome of two levels of the federal court system and move on.