A document that appeared on the federal court docket in Philadelphia on Wednesday but that was misunderstood by the media resulted in a flurry of headlines proclaiming that Judge Anita Brody has rejected the proposed settlement in the concussion lawsuit a second time.
She hasn’t. (Yet.)
The document, we’re told, merely reflected internal court housekeeping and not a new decision that an attempt to change Judge Brody’s mind has failed.
Of course, that could still happen. Judge Brody could decide that the second attempt by the lawyers to persuade her to give preliminary approval to the settlement fails to alleviate her concerns. It hasn’t happened yet, however.
Judge Brody rejected the settlement primarily due to her concern that the $675 million compensation fund created by the $765 million settlement won’t last long enough to satisfy all potential claims. The easy solution would be for the NFL to guarantee that, if the money runs out at some point in the future, the NFL will replenish the pot as needed. If, after all, the NFL has a high degree of confidence that the funds will last, the NFL should have no qualms about satisfying any deficit.
Meanwhile, the plaintiffs continue to wait. It’s been nearly eight months since the deal was negotiated, and the settlement process likely will consume another eight months, or more. They agreed to settle the case in part because it meant that much-needed funds would be made available to them sooner rather than later.
Sooner quickly has become later. And it likely will be a lot later until the settlement is resolved.