On August 29, a global settlement was reached in the concussion lawsuits brought by more than 4,500 former players. Since then, nothing has happened.
The settlement, which would encompass all retired players, must first receive preliminary approval from Judge Anita Brody. A hearing had been set for October 28, but the hearing was postponed due to the financial complexities of the settlement.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the parties intend to submit to Judge Brody a written motion for preliminary approval and related papers within the next week. Then, it will be up to Judge Brody whether a hearing will be held.
It’s unclear when Judge Brody would grant preliminary approval to the settlement. If the decision is delayed until after the season, currently active players like Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez would be eligible to eventually receive compensation if they later develop a “severe cognitive impairment.”
Gonzalez has made clear his intention to retire after the season. Any other players who are clearly retired would be eligible to receive compensation, even if they played for the entire season.
That all potentially changes if Judge Brody gives preliminary approval to the settlement before Week 17 or, for any men whose teams qualify for the playoffs, before their teams are eliminated. Given that it’s taken nearly three months to get to the point where the paperwork is being submitted to the judge, it could make sense to delay preliminary approval until after the current season ends — or at a minimum to allow any current players who retire after the season to become eligible to participate in the settlement.
If/when Judge Brody grants preliminary approval to the settlement, the formal approval settlement will commence, with players having an opportunity to opt out or to formally object to the deal.