An attorney involved in the $765 million settlement of the concussion lawsuit that retired players brought against the NFL says that the vast majority of retired players support the settlement.
“We have received overwhelming support for the settlement,” Seeger said on a conference call discussing the settlement today.
Some retired players will choose not to accept the settlement and pursue their own separate litigation against the NFL, but Seeger said he doesn’t think many players will follow that course. And Seeger added that there’s no point at which a large number of opt-outs would cause the settlement to be scrapped.
“There’s no specific amount — it’s not like if we reach a 5 percent opt out, then the NFL would say the deal is off,” Seeger said. “In every class action there are opt outs so I expect there to be opt outs. I don’t expect the number to be high.”
The $765 million will provide medical benefits and cash payments to retired players, pay for medical and safety research, and cover the costs of the litigation itself. If the settlement plan is approved, some retired players — those suffering from ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or dementia — can receive up to $5 million. Most members of the class (which consists of more than 18,000 former professional football players) won’t get anything close to that amount, but all retired players are eligible for medical checkups to determine whether they are suffering from neurological impairment.
Seeger noted that players do not have to prove that football caused their neurological conditions in order to collect from the settlement.
“There is no causation requirement,” Seeger said. “Former players will not need to demonstrate that their injuries were caused by football in order to receive medical benefits. Nor will they have to prove a scientific link between concussions and their disease today.”
The settlement also includes a proposed fee of $112 million to attorneys who brought the many lawsuits on behalf of the thousands of retired players. United States District Judge Anita Brody will determine whether $112 million is an appropriate fee, and if so how the money should be split up among all the lawyers who worked on these cases.
“Any lawyer in the country who has been involved in the concussion litigation, who believes work they have done has contributed . . . can apply for the $112 million. I don’t know how many that will be. I anticipate it will be dozens of law firms,” Seeger said.
Judge Brody still must approve of the plan for how the $765 million will be distributed.