In May, seven former NFL players filed an objection to the proposed concussion settlement. Now that the NFL has removed the $675 million cap on benefits available to all retired players with a qualifying diagnosis, the seven players have renewed their objection. Strenuously.
Via ESPN.com, Sean Morey, Alan Faneca, Ben Hamilton, Robert Royal, Rock Cartwright, Jeff Rohrer, and Sean Considine submitted via counsel a 58-page document opposing the settlement, which they call a “lousy deal” for the players and “a great deal for the NFL and class counsel.”
The players contend among other things that the settlement came too soon.
“Investigation of the facts through discovery of the NFL’s internal files could yield powerful and compelling evidence of the NFL’s culpability — strengthening class counsel’s hand at the negotiating table,” the objection states. “Yet class counsel settled this case without taking a single deposition and without the NFL producing a single document.”
While the settlement indeed seems a little favorable to the league and a little restrictive to players, who’ll recover only if they can prove a severe cognitive impairment, the deal was struck at a time when many of the players’ claim could have been thrown out of court based on the argument that any relief must be pursued under the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA. If the plaintiffs had decided to let it ride, there’s a chance that most of them would have gotten little or nothing.
The players also claim that the process for obtaining benefits is “so onerous and confusing that it raises due process as well as fairness concerns” and that the lawyers established “a procedural labyrinth designed to limit the number and amount of settlement payouts.”
Judge Anita Brody has yet to provide preliminary approval to the settlement. If she does, all players will have the right to opt out of the settlement and pursue their own claims. The seven players objecting to the current deal undoubtedly will.