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NFL suffers major setback in concussion cases

RoyGreen Getty Images

The NFL’s initial argument in response to the concussion lawsuits is that there should be no concussion lawsuits.  Specifically, the league argues that the labor agreement requires these claims to be pursued via private arbitration.

It’s a forum far more favorable to employers and business interests, putting the issue in the hands of a retired judge or lawyer and avoiding a jury, which often decides civil cases based on notions of sympathy to the injured and/or a desire to redistribute wealth.

The primary concussion litigation, with more than 4,000 plaintiffs, resulted in a proposed nationwide settlement before the question could be resolved as to whether the cases should be kicked out of court.  Now, via NFLConcussionLitigation.com, one of the other concussion cases has survived the NFL’s effort to deliver an early knockout punch.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, in a case brought by receiver Roy Green (pictured) and other former members of the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals, concluded that the lawsuit may proceed in Missouri state court.  Which means that the discovery process will proceed.

Which means that the NFL has moved closer to the day on which it will have to disclose what it knew and when it knew it about the long-term risks of concussions.

The outcome also could result in the plaintiffs in the settled case to quit trying to persuade Judge Anita Brody to approve the settlement, opting instead to proceed with the litigation.  If the players in that case secure the same victory Roy Green and others have realized in Missouri, the value of the claims would potentially skyrocket.

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42 Responses to “NFL suffers major setback in concussion cases”
  1. gdeli says: May 14, 2014 9:37 PM

    Just pay the money and get James Harrison , saints defense out of the league! Done!

  2. isphet71 says: May 14, 2014 9:40 PM

    Not good. One more step towards a much different league.

  3. crabcakesfootball says: May 14, 2014 9:40 PM

    I bet big tobacco had no clue that cigarettes caused cancer too.

    Good luck in your buy-offs NFL

  4. floratiotime says: May 14, 2014 9:43 PM

    Free money ! C’mon boys … free money.

  5. ghost26 says: May 14, 2014 9:48 PM

    Good. Now fire Goodell & everyone else who tried to shove that ridiculous class action settlement down the ex-players throat.

  6. mansers says: May 14, 2014 9:52 PM

    TOTAL BS, U RECEIVE MILLIONS IN PAY, NOW U WANT MORE

  7. mazenblue says: May 14, 2014 9:53 PM

    HEIL GOODELL!

  8. orivar says: May 14, 2014 9:55 PM

    Your move NFL. Not looking good.

  9. rbell2123 says: May 14, 2014 9:57 PM

    All these players would have still played even if they knew what might happen, but now they are out of money and trying to get a free payday!

  10. finspensfan says: May 14, 2014 10:05 PM

    Good-bye, Goose. Says the Golden egg.

  11. whydoupost says: May 14, 2014 10:05 PM

    They obviously new stuff. Arrogance and common business sense will never allow them to admit it…even if caught red handed!

  12. yetimonster says: May 14, 2014 10:18 PM

    This isn’t cigarettes in which some company is intentionally making products more addictive and then lying about it. NFL didn’t intentionally cause people to have concussions.

    People know nothing about concussions even to this day, at least, they know way less than they should.

    Even if the NFL speculated on the long-term effects, it’s not even close to knowing the real effects.

  13. primenumber19 says: May 14, 2014 10:19 PM

    Good, the nfl should reap what it sows

  14. thevikingslol says: May 14, 2014 10:34 PM

    The Vikings have 0 rings after 53 years.

  15. jshawaii22 says: May 14, 2014 10:39 PM

    Mike, you must of been a ‘attack’ lawyer. You do realize that they haven’t “WON” anything yet, other than the right to go to trial in one case?

    Potential? Yes, but that could be 20 years from now and most of the current plaintiffs will be dead.

    Taking the 750 or so millions now gives them the support and cash now.

    And, of course, they can still lose. Jury’s haven’t been a stupid as in the 70 and 80′s. They seem to actually look at the case.

    js

  16. kimbo71006 says: May 14, 2014 11:00 PM

    Seriously, come on man.

    You can’t tell me that football players DID NOT KNOW that their body would suffer with a contact sport such as football.

    When, are people ever going to accept responsibility and the consequences of their own free-will choices.

    Don’t wear a seatbelt, you might die in an accident – not the car manufacturers fault.

    Drink and drive, not the alcohol distributor’s fault.

    Jaywalk on the street and get hit by a car, not the driver’s fault.

    Play football and get hurt – not the NFL’s fault.

    Come on – is EVERYTHING in this word all driven by the “love” of money? And the sad part is we’re raising our kids to believe that you don’t have to own anything you do – just do it and then sue someone else for your own stupid decisions.

    Fed up!

  17. ramitbaby says: May 14, 2014 11:14 PM

    If the players had known then about the risk of concussions they know today, they would have continued to strap on the helmet each week. The issue is whether the NFL should have taken greater precautions with whatever information they may have yet. I just doubt the league had any valuable information in Roy Green’s era.

  18. bohste says: May 14, 2014 11:32 PM

    Might have to start importing players from China and India to reduce the lawsuits here at home.

  19. pillowporkers says: May 14, 2014 11:32 PM

    What I don’t understand is why this isn’t happening in the NHL or MMA?

  20. 6thsense10 says: May 14, 2014 11:40 PM

    Despite what players may have done if the NFL disclosed their knowledge of concussions is besides the point. The NFL for years down played the severity of concussions. If they had knowledge and or studies that said otherwise at the time they were down playing concussions they will be liable. It doesn’t matter what the players would or wouldn’t have done with that information the point they are arguing is the information wasn’t given to them and the league misrepresented what they knew.

  21. mogogo1 says: May 14, 2014 11:51 PM

    Well, during the Tagliabu tenure the league essentially bought a medical journal and had doctors who they were sponsoring write articles claiming football didn’t cause concussions and even when they rarely happened the ill effects were gone almost instantly. Sounds nuts but it happened. Imagine how much stuff isn’t publicly known.

  22. fancyleague says: May 15, 2014 12:03 AM

    Of all the dislikable things the NFL has done, the fact that it is fighting this might be the most reprehensible.

  23. godofwine330 says: May 15, 2014 12:20 AM

    Good. I mean, really. This is the deal, $800M sounds nice. It actually sounds like a huge number, but in reality it is not. In the era of extremely inflated healthcare costs that amount may barely help 150 players. Last year a man was charge over $80k for an 18 hour stay for a snake bite when the anti-venom can be bought online between $750-$12,000 per vial.

    This is the state of America, and Americans are being taken to the woodshed by the medical industry. Severe overcharging is why this number is far too low and I am glad that the NFL players didn’t get stuck with it. In the most brutal of the professional sports, men risk life and limb in the only pro sport that has a one-sided contract where the players are stuck but the team can cut them at any time for any or no reason and owe no more.

    This is a disgrace that the NFL is trying to get off with paying such a low number off of the backs of the men who contributed to making the league what it is today. Many of these men struggle to move, can’t walk and have post concussion symptoms long before the equipment is where it is now. Pay up, NFL.

  24. mrtullymars says: May 15, 2014 12:54 AM

    Uh oh… Time for Roger to find more scapegoats. Look for a new “scandal” any day now.

  25. mikesowers1 says: May 15, 2014 12:55 AM

    This is sad and I do hate it for the ones that got hurt but……

    Like many have said, they would have (or did) play knowing there is risk. If Roy would win this case it opens pandoras box. What about the guy who blew out his knee and ended his career? What about the guy who blew all his money on drugs because the NFL did not tell him enough that drugs have risk? See where I am going? Where will it end?

    What about the high school athlete who is injured, do they get to sue the school or county or state?

    ANYONE who participates in anything is accepting that there is risk. A band member could drop a tuba on someone and injure them….

    Wake up America and accept the consequences of your own actions. The only ones that win in these cases is the lawyers.

  26. davikes says: May 15, 2014 1:28 AM

    If the NFL and the NFLPA had been more generous with retired players health benefits, they might not be getting sued right now. (OK, this is America, they would be getting sued.) I think for a good number of older retired players suing, it’s not about the money, it’s about lack of health care and disability coverage.

  27. VondyP says: May 15, 2014 1:36 AM

    Seems to me if your job involves slamming your head against someone elses head, it’s not good for you in the long run. These lawsuits are all dumb. Give retired players more insurance for head injuries and be done with it.

  28. silverhornet says: May 15, 2014 1:40 AM

    10 years from now, the NFL will be no more. Tell me a helmet manufacturer that is going to do business with the NFL after the legal system runs its course with these lawsuits. Enjoy it while it lasts fellas.

  29. campcouch says: May 15, 2014 1:43 AM

    It’s known that most medical conditions are not addressed until someone dies and it’s identified as the cause. Korey Stringer passed during training camp from heat stroke. Although heat stroke was well known at the time,it took a man dying at practice to get the NFL’s routine changed. Concussions are no different. People have gotten their bells rung since existence,but if there is nothing to suspect injury except for a headache and temporary light sensitivity,it was considered just a run of the mill injury. The recent studies and verification have shown the damage they cause,but for 60 years the lack of concern,knowledge and technology didn’t bring it to light. I hope I’m wrong,but I can’t see the NFL having a room full of papers with the results of concussion studies sitting in New York. Considering that the NFL will give retroactive compensation to guys with higher stages of brain injury is good thing. Not many companies are going to go back and say that the repetitive motion you did in our employ might cause shoulder aches so here’s a bonus.But asking for more money because you didn’t adequately plan for future medical expenses is greedy. I mean the NFL has a pension plan,and a good chunk of guys made millions prior to retiring. I guess they expect more.

  30. raiders4ever says: May 15, 2014 4:17 AM

    wow just all fast quick players will be drafted no more 300 pounders will be needed once they take away tackeling and go to flag football..you knew it was going to get worse when they made the rule tackling a defenseless receiver …even the refs still dont know when to call that..

  31. dfwhawkguy says: May 15, 2014 7:41 AM

    Why would anyone think hurling their body at top end speed, head-first into a gigantic human being could cause long-term head trauma? Hard to connect the dots on that one. Idiots.

  32. jkirby317 says: May 15, 2014 8:02 AM

    The NFL will be forced to make “the TRUTH about concussions” commercials…

  33. qdog112 says: May 15, 2014 8:14 AM

    Uh oh, trouble looms for the non-profit NFL. The settlement will never be totally accepted by any judge worth his/her salt.

    The pennies on the dollar amount, is absurd and amounts to the NFL extorting the older players who are in dire need NOW and would rather accept a penance, than go after a fair and equitable judgment.

    Basically, this reveals a chink in the shield. The NFL makes about $1 billion per month and they wanna spread $700 million over several years. That makes the agreed upon settlement, laughable.

  34. chris6523 says: May 15, 2014 8:25 AM

    Go ahead everyone, bitch about Goodell changing the game to a powder puff league. Much better to have these guys continuously suing the league because they aren’t doing anything about concussions, right?

  35. thegenoatkinsdiet says: May 15, 2014 8:31 AM

    Maybe they could put all the players in padded sumo suits. Sure, it would make stuff like running and catching the ball hard, but hey, everyone would be safe!

  36. sb44champs says: May 15, 2014 8:37 AM

    Saints defense out the league? The same defense where not one actual play on the field can be attributed to any type of bounty and the same defense that had the 2nd fewest opponent injuries in the 3 year so-called bounty program lol

  37. thetooloftools says: May 15, 2014 9:39 AM

    take the helmets off and then we’ll see who leads with their heads.

  38. marthisdil says: May 15, 2014 9:48 AM

    Which means that the players have moved closer to a day where they have to prove, beyond a doubt, that they didn’t start their issue back before their time in the NFL.

    Concussion in high school? College? Guess what – the NFL now has grounds to potentially exclude you.

    This will only benefit players who never had a concussion until they started in the NFL. For any others with a history of concussions prior to the NFL, well, they’ll be losing out on any benefit.

  39. nflgiant says: May 15, 2014 10:02 AM

    It is guys like Kam Chanceler, who plays legal hard nosed football,that will bring the league to its knees.

  40. gisellichek says: May 15, 2014 10:10 AM

    This is going to crush the NFL… Given the violent nature of the sport … how can the game continue to be played?…

    Worse case scenario … the league settles out of court for huge money… and then requires players to sign a release of rights if they want to participate or … they try to legislate new contact rules that will destroy the game and the league implodes…

    This is the beginning of the end of the NFL as we know it.

    I propose… Loose the equipment… get out the flag belts… thats where this is heading.

  41. atthemurph says: May 15, 2014 12:33 PM

    Why are the players portrayed as ignorant of the risks of injury? What is their liability if they knew they could get hurt and have their bell rung?

    There is no longer personal responsibility in our country which means we are all victims waiting to sue whomever we can for however much we can get.

    It’s insanity and is one more piece of the destruction of everyone’s freedom.

  42. granadafan says: May 15, 2014 1:59 PM

    No wonder lawyers now run the NFL. Thanks former players and thanks Goodell. All you had to do was to help out the players medically when they asked. You slammed the door in their faces, and now we have major tort lawsuits.

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