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Big ruling in concussion cases could come as soon as next Tuesday

Gavel AP

The 4,500-plus player lawsuit against the NFL could get a lot stronger — or a lot weaker — in a week.

As soon as September 3, Judge Anita Brody will issue a ruling on the question of whether and to what extent claims that the NFL covered up the risks of concussions and/or failed to reasonably protect players from concussions should be sent to arbitration under the labor deals between the league and the NFLPA.

Judge Brody delayed the date of her intended ruling in early July, because the parties agreed to engage in mediation under the supervision of retired U.S. District Court Judge Layn Phillips.  Citing a court-imposed gag order, the NFL has no comment on whether mediation, a non-binding process aimed at creating a framework for settlement talks, has resulted in progress toward a settlement of the cases.

Absent a settlement, the decision from Judge Brody could dramatically impact the case, especially if she orders most or all of the plaintiffs to pursue their claims through arbitration.  If she allows the case to proceed in court, the NFL still has numerous defenses that would be launched before the case would ever go to trial in front of a jury.

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23 Responses to “Big ruling in concussion cases could come as soon as next Tuesday”
  1. redeemerac says: Aug 27, 2013 11:52 AM

    Money grab IMO, see Pat White, was part of the lawsuit until he was offered a roster spot in the NFL, dropped his name from the suit the very same day.
    Wouldn’t surprise me if he joins it again after he retires.

  2. bennyb82 says: Aug 27, 2013 11:57 AM

    I think half of the issue is concussion related and the other half is money management.

  3. twilson962 says: Aug 27, 2013 11:59 AM

    I think the NFL needs to cough up the $$. Put a larger chunk of $$ into a fund every year for retired players continuing health care… Then, with the approval of the courts (for the class action suits), and current players remove any liability from the NFL for future law suits…contingent on the league paying into the fund.

    Then remove the ‘defenseless’ receiver rule. He’s in full pads, on the field. He knows what he’s got himself into. Remove the fines & subjective penalties for incidental helmet-to-helmet contact.

  4. whatnojets says: Aug 27, 2013 12:04 PM

    ” I don’t remember”

  5. mylionsroaring says: Aug 27, 2013 12:12 PM

    I think the players knew the risk, and were paid for that risk. It is sad that some deal with this, but if the players win, then the door will be opened for knees, and shoulders, and backs and everything else. The bottom line is the bodies have been being damaged from peewee all the way up to the NFL, and it’s not fair for the NFL to have to pay for all the results of years of abusing their bodies.

    My son decided not to play football because he didn’t like how he felt the days after a game. All the money in the world wouldn’t have changed his mind. That is not the case for those who go all the way to the NFL. They have decided that the sacrifice bodies of their bodies was worth the money. I don’t think it’s fair to come back later and change your mind.

    I also feel many player knew they were concussed, and rather than tell a trainer or coach because of fear of being cut they kept playing. You cant blame the NFL, coach, or trainer for not doing something if they had no knowledge of the problem. It’s impossible to know for sure who did that and who didn’t. That said you can’t hold the NFL responsible IMHO. I am sorry for those players, but they all knew they were taking a chance when they played a game that was so violent.

  6. christophershearin says: Aug 27, 2013 12:13 PM

    Stand up and take responsibility for the fact that you played a game you knew could injure you. I get it, the old timers were not paid millions, and thus dont have a lot to live off of, but to try and pass the buck for your inaction as far as preparing for retirement goes,(and that includes having plan to deal with your ailing health) is no ones fault but your own…..

  7. TheMorningStar says: Aug 27, 2013 12:14 PM

    twilson962 says:

    “Then remove the ‘defenseless’ receiver rule. He’s in full pads, on the field. He knows what he’s got himself into. Remove the fines & subjective penalties for incidental helmet-to-helmet contact.”

    ——————————————————

    Remove the defenseless receiver and helment to helmet penalties???

    That’s just plan stupid…

  8. justintuckrule says: Aug 27, 2013 12:21 PM

    “they knew what they were getting into”
    —-
    No they didn’t. That’s what the lawsuit is about folks. The NFL knew the long term effects and didn’t disclose them to the players. As such, it was LEGALLY IMPOSSIBLE for the players to make an educated decision to “know what they were getting into”.

    Hopefully that will stem the tide of the 100+ “they knew..” and “money grab” comments.

  9. floratiotime says: Aug 27, 2013 12:33 PM

    Get on the free money ride boys.

  10. squared80 says: Aug 27, 2013 12:39 PM

    I work in one of the largest union environments in the country, and I can tell you, the NFLPA and former players better be careful. When you start talking about lawsuits and the like, corporations go into self-preservation mode.

    Want to pretend you didn’t think football was a violent sport, and are now suing because of it? That’s fine, but that’s why the NFL is banning everything on defense for the last 10 years. It’s a legal play, not a ticket-selling play. You will get across-the-board knee-jerk reactionary rules and regulations installed by the NFL to at least look like they care, and the game will continue to suffer because of it.

  11. eroschmidt says: Aug 27, 2013 12:46 PM

    This whole thing is stupid. Injuries, including concussions, are part of the risk of playing in the league. Every player knows they risk injury by playing football. To play in the league and then sue it for getting hurt is like a fireman suing for getting burned or a lifeguard suing for getting wet.

  12. icdogg says: Aug 27, 2013 12:51 PM

    The NFL operates under a CBA. Even though the retired players had little to no part in creating the CBA they still are subject to what is in it, at least that’s what the precedents have been so far.

    So I don’t think the ex-players have standing to make this case; I think it will become a mediation case, i.e. binding arbitration, with the ex-players represented by the NFLPA.

  13. honkeyt says: Aug 27, 2013 12:52 PM

    Having a female judge over this is not a good thing for the NFL.

  14. mcharles0809 says: Aug 27, 2013 12:52 PM

    Part of the reason NFL players get large contracts is due to the risk involved. You can’t have it both ways. If you don’t want to assume the risk, step aside as there are over a million other players who would love to be in your shoes.
    Roofers, workers on oil rigs, deck hands on Alaskan Crab boats, employees working with hazardous chemicals all assume big risks in exchange for higher pay rates. You don’t see them filing a lawsuit every time something goes wrong.

  15. mylionsroaring says: Aug 27, 2013 12:53 PM

    christophershearin

    ___________________________

    The old timers may not have made millions, but what they did make was way above the rest of the normal people.

    I remember the first house I bought was 9K and it was a three bedroom two bath.

    The next was 50K it was a three bedroom 2 bath

    I now live in a 325K an although it’s a four bedroom three bath, I think you get my point.

    A million today pays off my house and gives me twice what it cost me, but 40 years ago, 27K did the same thing

  16. stabbymike says: Aug 27, 2013 1:43 PM

    this lawsuit is stupid. yeah injuries suck, but if you go into a full contact sport thinking there wont be long term effects on your physical or mental health one your ignorant or two you only have to worry about your physical health.

  17. christophershearin says: Aug 27, 2013 1:56 PM

    @ mylionsroaring says: Aug 27, 2013 12:53 PM

    Whats your point? I said the players should have planned out their retirement, I was in no way defending their absurd lawsuit….

  18. fsstnotch says: Aug 27, 2013 2:00 PM

    So question…. the soldiers that get sent to war… Do they, or do they not know the possibile outcome of said situation? Did they or did they not VOLUNTEER? (we are talking current times, not draft era)

    Ok, so they volunteered to potentially go to war. Much like an NFL player does, volunteering to accept handsome paychecks knowing it is a violent game. You can not tell me that any NFL player has been so blind to not ever in their entire football career (peewee to NFL) have seen a career ending injury. The difference? Millions of dollars! A soldier won’t make in his 20+yr career what some NFL athletes make in a YEAR! How is it anyones fault but your own that you decided to stay in the game longer than you should have or have spent more money than most make in a lifetime and now have nothing?

    Quit ruining the game!

  19. oilerthentexandiehard says: Aug 27, 2013 2:23 PM

    I had a knee to the head after losing my helmet about 35 years ago on a kickoff. When I woke up, I put my shoe back on (literally) and went back in. Then, I ignored my crushing headache and went out on a date. She said I was real grumpy and sleepy. I don’t remember.

    I had no idea that I was risking brain damage from that, and neither did they. As long as you got back up, you thought everything was fine. Close call, maybe, but that’s all.

    Lucky for me that I wasn’t good enough to keep playing and do that a few more times. If there is evidence that the NFL became aware before the rest of us – and didn’t disclose – then yeah, I think they owe players that demonstrate brain trauma some compensation. If players are in the suit only because they can’t manage their finances, then they need to be tossed out.

    Now that we are all informed, players can decide if the pay is worth it, one by one, and live with their decision. I loved playing. I probably would have kept playing even if I was informed. And I would certainly have played for money! But I might have been a lot more careful about tightening my uncomfortable chin strap before kickoffs.

  20. duece5 says: Aug 27, 2013 2:38 PM

    justintuckrule says: Aug 27, 2013 12:21 PM

    “they knew what they were getting into”
    —-
    No they didn’t. That’s what the lawsuit is about folks. The NFL knew the long term effects and didn’t disclose them to the players. As such, it was LEGALLY IMPOSSIBLE for the players to make an educated decision to “know what they were getting into”.

    Hopefully that will stem the tide of the 100+ “they knew..” and “money grab” comment

    duece5 says:

    You are kidding right?

    You don’t have to put your hand in a fire TO KNOW it will burn you.

    I played till my mid-teens, and I KNEW it was very dangerous, saw and felt concussions, saw people break bones.

    You don’t have to play ONE DOWN to KNOW it is dangerous on your body.

    The players KNEW, this is just a way to get to the $$$$ because many are having issues.

    It is sad, but to say they didn’t know, is absolutley ridiculous!!!!

  21. furnhole says: Aug 27, 2013 3:09 PM

    Every day I go to work and deal with the public I’m sure my IQ drops a few points. Can I sue somebody?

  22. dumbaseinstien says: Aug 27, 2013 3:28 PM

    I think the suit backers should be required to demonstrate how players today routinely choose to work in a safer industry rather than get the opportunity to play either collegiate or pro football due to risk of injury. Last i checked, the only people complaing are trying to get money or non football fans who dont understand “why” (cry babies).

  23. justintuckrule says: Aug 27, 2013 3:29 PM

    For the record…I believe that these concussion lawsuits are simply a money grab. However, none of you are looking at these suits from a LEGAL perspective. Many times, a legal prospective contradicts common sense. I don’t need to remind you all of some terrible recent court outcomes. Again, LEGALLY, they “didn’t know what they were getting themselves into”. Here’s some non-football examples:

    1) If you go scuba diving, you know you can drown. If a tank manufacturer knowingly doesn’t tell you that prolonged exposure to deep pressure will malfunction its tank and make you drown, then the company is at fault b/c you couldn’t have made an informed before you drowned.

    2) If you go skydiving, you know you can plummet to your death. However, if the sky dive co. doesn’t tell you that since you’re fat, your likelihood of death is greater…and you in fact plummet to your death b/c of your weight…you couldn’t have made an informed decision to jump and the co. is liable.

    3) If you ride horses, you know you can get bucked off like Christopher Reeve and get paralyzed. However, if the ranch doesn’t tell you that Ol’ Bessie hates the rain and bucks more than usual…and Ol’ Bessie tosses you on your head….the ranch is liable.

    I can go on and on…..

    The NFL knew that repeated head contact caused long term issues but kept quiet. Thus, the players couldn’t have made an informed decision to play.

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