And yet another concussion lawsuit is filed

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Earlier this week, another group of former players sued the NFL, alleging that the league failed to properly deal with the issue of concussions. The players, including former NFL running backs Jamal Lewis and Dorsey Levens, filed their claim in Atlanta.

On Thursday night, another 21 players filed suit in Miami.  Like several similar suits filed in recent months by former players, the latest lawsuit alleges that NFL officials knew about the risks related to concussions and deliberately ignored and concealed them.

The plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit include Leon Searcy, Patrick Surtain (pictured), Oronde Gadsden, Lamar Thomas, and Troy Drayton.

In all of the lawsuits alleging that the league didn’t do enough to protect players from concussions, the fact-finding process will focus on when the league knew or should have known about the risks associated with concussions — and when the league took appropriate action to protect the players.  Those two dates will create a window of potential liability to former players who can show that they suffered concussions and that the league failed to inform them of the risks and/or to protect them sufficiently after the league knew that concussions were a potential long-term health problem.

Along with the lawsuits filed this week in Atlanta and Miami, other lawsuits have been filed in Philadelphia and California.  Players who have joined the effort include Jim McMahon, Mike Furrey, Mark Duper, and Rodney Hampton.

“The NFL is a nine billion dollar per-year enterprise,” Ricardo Martinez-Cid, attorney for the plaintiffs and partner at the Miami-based law firm of Podhurst Orseck, said in a press release relating to the new lawsuit.  “They knew for decades that repeated blows to the head would lead to serious life-threatening and chronic injuries, yet they intentionally turned a blind eye and led players to believe they were okay to keep playing because they didn’t want to risk losing money in their coffers.”

The NFL now faces losing money in its coffers via significant legal fees and, eventually, settlements or verdicts.

52 responses to “And yet another concussion lawsuit is filed

  1. On one hand, you’ve got idiot media types like Mark Schlereth talking about how the league is making it “flag football” and players whining about the rule changes like that moron James Harrison. On the other hand you have tons of players suing the league. You can’t have it both ways, fellas.

  2. The contracts from now on should read “you are putting yourself in severe danger playing this game, you will make millions at the expense of your health, sign here.” Done. No more lawsuits.

  3. “They knew for decades that repeated blows to the head would lead to serious life-threatening and chronic injuries, yet they intentionally turned a blind eye “……………………………… doubt the NFL knew, but… did the players and the chance to make $millions of dollars to bang their heads was an acceptable risk they willingly took. Now they want to cash in a second time. I knew the physical risks of playing football when I was 9 years old but still chose to play and for these NFL players to try and claim that “they didn’t know” is asinine.

  4. “The NFL is a nine billion dollar per-year enterprise,” He should have just followed it up with “My clients would be happy to settle for (you put $ amount here)”

  5. There should be guaranteed contracts. This will take away some of the reasons players say they play through injuries. Most will tell you they are scared of losing their contracts and being replaced. If you notice list, it is rare that you find a star player on it. It is because they are paid handsomely and this gives them comfort of not being pressured into playing when they shouldnt. Obviously, this isnt 100% proof but it is a start in the right direction.

  6. Translation: The league makes a lot of money, so you should give us some.

    IMO this is a lot like the smokers that sue Tobacco companies, these people willingly participated in the actions, they gladly collected the paychecks week after week, you can’t now claim that you’re surprised that multiple blows to the head could lead to problems.

  7. These men were grown adults. These guys always claim , “I know my body…blah blah blah”. No sympathy. What’s next, NASCAR drivers sue NASCAR because accidents may happen?

  8. “The contracts from now on should read “you are putting yourself in severe danger playing this game, you will make millions at the expense of your health, sign here.” Done. No more lawsuits.”

    True, but you just made damn sure that 70% of the kids playing tackle football under the age of 18 won’t get their parents permission to do so anymore. After all, they don’t get a dime. The only way the NFL can keep the player pipeline open is to convince moms that playing football won’t turn Jr. into a vegetable by the time he’s 30. As for the other 30% of parents, based on what I have seen coaching, they will let their kids play in a minefield if they thought they might get a new car out of it somehow.

  9. Have all of the lawsuits been against the NFL only or, has anybody filed suit against a specific team?
    I’m curious now about how far this will go and how many people will be affected. Will someone file suit against a teams medical staff at some point?
    I really hope not.

  10. The problem here is that back in the day the teams would clear a player to play with a concussion so the player thought it was OK even though the NFL knew it was not. That is not OK.

  11. Once the first lawsuit got filed, lots of former players and lawyers saw dollar signs in there head….

  12. These players were not forced to play it was their choice to play. Your right It is just like smokers that sue tobacco companies. Like People that sue because Mc donalds got them fat. anyone with half a brain knows that blows to the head over and over will cause problems

  13. “…when the league knew or should have known about the risks associated with concussions…”

    Perhaps this date is when they had players start wearing helmets…

    “…and when the league took appropriate action to protect the players…”

    And perhaps this date is also when they had players start wearing helmets?

    Case dismissed.

  14. I think I’ll sue my high school and college for concussions I experienced on the football field.
    Oh, and I might as well sue my employer of over 30 years for the carpal tunnel and other wrist issues that I now have. Damn computers! Maybe I’ll even sue the British government for the indentured servitude that they pressed upon my Irish ancestors. We’ve gotta blame someone for our troubles because no one takes responsibility for their own actions anymore.

  15. The players aren’t arguing that they didn’t know football is dangerous. They are arguing that the NFL deliberately misled its players about the nature and magnitude of the risks. It sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory, but obviously if the documents show that this actually happened the NFL should pay.

    I’m skeptical though because there has been a lot of sports medicine research done over the years on the topic of concussions and brain damage, and it’s unclear that the NFL had any special access to that information that the players, their agents and doctors did not.

  16. Its ironic. The league and the lawyers who run it have been deathly afraid of liability. They have gone out of their way to make the game “safer”, and the result is the NFL game today is a perpetual 5 wide passing drill. And yet, before its over, we will probably see a giant class action suit involving pop warner, hs, NCAA and NFL players all looking to hit pay dirt. The simple fact is that what makes football so popular is the violence. Violence brought the NFL and the NCAA its money, and violence will surely take it away.

  17. Have you seen Rodney Hampton lately. He would be better served having a salad every so often – unless of course they can prove having a concussion makes you turn into a fat bastard.

  18. What the hell is this???

    Southern metro city lawsuit week????

    First, there were Jamal Lewis, Dorsey Levens, and 1 of the “2 Live Stews” in Atlanta and now South Beach has ex-Dolphins doing their thing????

  19. Oh, I’d venture to say that most football players in the past were not fully aware of the kind of damage that can be done to brains by playing the game. Hell, most players in the game now aren’t aware of it. It’s one thing for players to know what it’s like to play hurt, but it’s extremely dangerous to play with a hurt brain and not even know it.

    I love football, but I think the only way to make it safer is to have less padding and less head protection. Guys will not hit each other with their heads if they don’t have the protection. That’s probably the only thing that will get the big blows to the head out of the game.

  20. The NFL should not settle these suits.

    First of all, it will be next to impossible to prove that the NFL knew the long term effects of concussions- the plaintiffs will need to show proof that the data was in the hands of the league and that they knowingly and intentionally disregarded it.

    Secondly, the plaintiffs will have to prove that the league, even if it had this information, had a LEGAL obligation to “inform” the players.

    Thirdly, the plaintiffs will have to show actual monetary damages- that these concussions either directly led to an inability to earn a living after retirement or directly caused future medical expenses.

    One of the plaintiffs, for example, has had an extremely successful radio career post-retirement and has made far more money doing that than he ever made playing football. How will he prove that he has been damaged financially?

    The fact the NFL is taking new precautions now is not proof that they knew the dangers in the past. If you find out tomorrow that there is a prowler robbing houses in your neighborhood today and install a new alarm system tomorrow, is that somehow proof that you had this information last year? Doesn’t make sense when you think of it that way, does it?

    But the main reason I don’t think the league should settle is the very fact that that is what these ambulance chasers are counting on. They know their case is legally week, and are filing these cases in the sole hope that the league will write checks rather than fight.

    Although I don’t often support the league, in this case I hope they fight.

  21. Dachozen1 just made the best point I’ve heard yet. Good on you.

    The players always live with the fear of being labeled and/or losing their spot and therefore their chance for big time money. My guess is they would take the trade-off of less total money in exchange for more guaranteed …. of course this does nothing for the former players.

    And yea- something must be agreed on that the game will always hold risks for the players and that part of their compensation prices in this risk. I hope the best possible compromise comes soon BEFORE this issue is settled by unaffected lawyers in a closed room.

    Keep up the fight Mike.

  22. Just goes to show who was the greedy party during labor negotiations. The players wanted their share of the pie. Now, they want the owner’s share too. I knew the risk of concussions when I was playing pee wee football in 4th grade. I was 9 and that was 1974. How can these guys claim to not know. Are they really that stupid. Problem is, they’ll probably win or at least get a nice settlement, which is what they are really after.

  23. I cannot for a second imagine that with all of the technology at our disposal that there is not a helmet design that would at the very least minimize the possibilty of a concussion…my take is that no one would wear it. Just like in the NBA players could increase their free throw by a simple change of technique, but no one will use the, “granny throw”.

  24. Drew Brees was right, most former players squander their money. Might as well sue to get it back. Concussions are all the rage right now. I should sue Smirnoff.

  25. According to Goodell, the running backs don’t have a case because right now its okay to hit them helmet-to-helmet. Long term damage and player safety only seems to apply to QBs and wide receivers.

  26. You reap what you sow GODell. I hope they bankrupt what has now become a joke of a league.
    The game, as we knew it, has changed anyway.

    Player safety, right? Hypocrite.

  27. atwatercrushesokoye: I was just going to post the same thing regarding the tobacco lawsuits — lots of similarities between the two.

    People choose to smoke, ride motorcycles without helmets, drive without wearing seatbelts, cross the street without looking, skydive, box, drive drunk, and play a dangerous sport like football.

    I see lots of money being paid to lawyers, who will be the only winners in this.

  28. eastsideballa says:
    Dec 23, 2011 11:07 PM
    The contracts from now on should read “you are putting yourself in severe danger playing this game, you will make millions at the expense of your health, sign here.” Done. No more lawsuits.

    Then if thats going in….The contracts have to be guaranteed..Great NBA 2 unmotivated players once with the”big” paychecks…can’t blame them…

  29. On one hand, you’ve got idiot media types like Mark Schlereth talking about how the league is making it “flag football” and players whining about the rule changes like that moron James Harrison. On the other hand you have tons of players suing the league. You can’t have it both ways, fellas.


    This statement makes no sense, unless Schlereth and those idiot media types are the ones who are also suing the NFL.

    Also, guaranteed contracts are needed. The NFL shouldn’t have the leverage to blackmail a guy into playing through dangerous injuries.

    Anyone who is on the side of the owners in this should probably get themselves checked for a concussion.

  30. This is BS!!! You played the game and knew the consequences and risks, now that you have retired and are probably broke, you want to sue the league because everyone is talking about concussions. The players named in this lawsuit are Bi***es. It was okay when you were making millions, but now that you have blown those millions you want to sue for milliions more. You knew the risk when you signed up. Just BS to me!! F those players named in the lawsuit.

  31. This is just the retired players not liking the new CBA, good luck. you will probably win the case, but since you were wearing helmets by 3rd party vendors, you’re reward will be $3.76, cause that’s how much winning a lawsuit against the NFL will get you, just ask the Donald.

  32. Lot of former Pro Bowlers among the lists of plaintiffs, this has the potential to get real ugly for the NFL

  33. Slippery slope….concussions aren’t the only debilitating injuries suffered by playing football. Anybody that blew-up their knees could sue ’cause now they can’t walk!

    One question though…when does the NCAA and Pop Warner also get sued?

  34. OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH that is why they have been wearing helmets all these years! I thought it was to look like an ass tronaut.

  35. Did the NFL do enough to protect players from concussions?

    The NFL does have a bit of a problem…they have been “very slow” (and that is being kind), when it comes to mandating safer equipment, that “does reduce” the incidence of concussions.

    Given the fact that the NFL has known that a safer helmet option has existed since 1967, when Willie Lanier first wore a helmet with padding added to the outside, yet the NFL did not mandate the use of those helmets…it is not a reach to say the NFL has not done enough to protect NFL players.

    It is not a surprise to me, that NFL players are filing lawsuits charging the league didn’t do enough to protect players from concussions…why?…

    …here we are, 40+ yrs after the NFL was aware of a safer helmet option that actually did help to prevent concussions…yet the NFL still has not mandated the use of those helmets. Before we condemn the NFL players as money grabbers, we might want to educate ourselves on the NFL’s record for mandating the use of safer helmets.

    The move by the NFL to fine it’s players for the way they tackle, might be nothing more than an attempt by the NFL to shift the responsibility for concussions, to the players and away from the NFL, which still has not mandated the use of safer helmets.

  36. And now you idiots see why they are cracking down on h 2 h hits. All about the benjamins! It was never that james harrison hits were ever illegal. It was goodell trying to save the owners from this moment…the moment is upon us people…oh and by the way..smoking can lead to lung cancer…and shooting heroin you can overdose and die..and judging by most of these posts by all you idiot fans other than steeler all shoot up quite frequently. Toothless trailer trash beeehotches!

  37. And this James Harrison is why you get fined every time you give a QB a hard stare. This Mark Schlereth and all the other former players complaining about how soft they are making the game and might as well put flags on them. You think the NFL didn’t see this day coming? They started preparing for this day long ago.

  38. it’s a violent game. concussions happen. did the league know? maybe. each team has it’s own medical staff and i find it hard to believe that some players weren’t told the risks of repeat concussions. it’s kind of a no brainer that your brain crashing into your skull repeatedly is bad for you. did these players ever seek a second opinion? do they even know what a concussion is?

    football players know there lives will be shortened because of football. suck it up and deal with it. IMO it’s a frivolous lawsuit. even if the NFL had told them, would they have walked away from the game? clearly they already know and accepted most of the risk. can they prove they had multiple concussions?

    i’m all for player safety and protecting players, but you can only regulate to increase their chance of safety, not guarantee it. i agree that H2H hits against defenseless players should be illegal. It certainly isn’t getting rid of the H2H hits on defenseless players. not to mention that H2H hits are fair game once you are considered not defenseless.

    what is the NFL going to do? implement a 3 strikes and you’re out policy because of the long term risks? u get concussed 3 times and we can’t let you play anymore b/c we are aware of the long term risks. the players are going to like that. they’ll say i’m fine, i feel good, i can play…and then come back after their careers and hold the NFL accountable?

    I know that is extreme, but something will change. Mandatory 2 game sit down? does that really help? how long does it take to fully recover from a concussion? is it easier to get a 2nd one? how much time must pass before you are not at increased risk of getting another one easier? does the brain ever fully heal?

    why is somebody always at fault. does the NFL really have all the answers? hell no.

  39. safer helmets? stop talking about safer helmets. that isn’t going to do anything. you have to consider the forces involved. what kind of padding are you going to put in a helmet that can stop those forces? they can’t. your head crashes into the turf and bounces off of it, no amount of padding is going to stop that. no amount of padding is going to help you when somebody crushes you at full speed H2H. safer helmets…not going to help anything. it’s the sudden acceleration and forces associated with it that lead to concussions and that’s not going to change with some safer helmets and a different padding. i could be wrong.

  40. All the players who handle their money poorly or haven’t gotten back into the game are going to sue.
    It is absurd to think that players weren’t aware of the potential for injury while playing the game. The NFL is their last stop, and thusly should have been made aware of injury danger back in Pop Warner and high schools. Let’s see these player sue those institutions before the NFL, I mean unless this is simply an opportunistic money grab.

  41. Anyone comparing this to tobacco has NO idea what they are talking about. Despite having VOLUMES of medical information that tobacco was 1) addictive and 2) a serious health risk, tobacco companies fought for decades in court and in the halls of Government to keep that information concealed from the public. In fact, they paid millions to advertise that cigarettes were healthy for you and tobacco ads used to feature quack doctors telling you how “good” tobacco was for you and how it “soothed your nerves”. It was a propaganda campaign the Nazis and Soviets could have only dreamed of. If someone dared to utter the truth, they would launch a full frontal smear campaign to paint that individual as a “malcontent” and “unstable”. Every US citizen was bombarded day and night with advertising to get them to regularly take an addictive drug that they were never told was addictive or that it was a drug. The NFL, to it’s credit, never ran a day and night ad campaign with doctors telling you that getting hit in the head was “healthy” and everyone should run out and do it and cartoon characters telling kids that getting hit in the head was the only way to be “cool”.

  42. After this, maybe Searcy will be able to pay his child support, and Surtain can recover some of the millions he lost in the house he spent so much money on before he actually owned it, and now belongs to Brandon Marshall. And didn’t Gadsden play on the Arena League for a couple years? Is the Areana league named in the suit too? Or did he never get tackled until he got to the NFL?

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