As the dust begins to settle on the settlement of the NFL’s concussion litigation, some intriguing twists will emerge.
For example, former Saints defensive back Steve Gleason, who has spent the past few years valiantly battling ALS, is eligible for a seven-figure payment — even though he didn’t sue the NFL.
Because the settlement expands the pool of 4,500-plus plaintiffs into a class that encompasses all retired players and creates a system for ensuring that only men with severe cognitive impairment will be compensated, Gleason automatically is eligible.
Under the formula that has been created, he can get up to $5 million from the $675 million compensation fund.
On one hand, Gleason may not want the money, given that he didn’t sue. On the other hand, that money (which most likely will be paid out tax free) can go a long way toward securing a fruitful future for Gleason and his family. More importantly, Gleason will become legally entitled to compensation under the settlement.
The fact that Gleason can get up to $5 million despite never suing underscores the tensions that undoubtedly will emerge as the lawyers try to persuade those who sued — and who stand to get far less, if anything — to accept the deal. Some of the men who undertook the risk of filing will resent the idea that those who chose not to sue will receive seven-figure payouts.
It will be delicate for currently healthy men who sued to complain about money going to those who have ALS. But it’s one of the complications that will have to be dealt with as the settlement begins its journey through what could be a bumpy approval process.