When details first emerged regarding the proposed settlement between the NFL and the thousands of former players of the concussion litigation, some thought the league got too good of a deal.
The presiding judge possibly agrees.
Via multiple reports, Judge Anita Brody has rejected the motion for preliminary approval of the settlement, a week after the formal motion was filed.
Judge Brody reportedly has concerns about the ability of the proposed $675 million compensation fund (from the total $765 million settlement) to cover benefits to be paid now or in the future to all retired players. While payment is limited only to former players with “severe cognitive impairments,” it’s unknown how many current players will develop conditions that automatically will qualify for compensation, regardless of whether the condition is related to football.
The development comes as a surprise, given that the settlement was brokered by a retired judge appointed by Judge Brody and ultimately assessed by a Special Master also appointed by Judge Brody. It could be simply a matter of Judge Brody being cautious, especially since the worst-case scenario would arise if, in 30 or 40 years, recently-retired players develop Alzheimer’s disease or ALS, they make a claim for compensation, and they discover that no money is left.
It’s too early to conclude that the decision will derail the settlement completely. Chances are that the lawyers will dot more i’s and cross more t’s and crunch more numbers and come up with a more persuasive presentation of evidence aimed at getting Judge Brody to agree.