The NFL’s effort to keep information regarding what it knew and when it knew it regarding concussions seems to be close to reaching its end.
With more than 150 lawsuits filed by former players who opted out of the concussion settlement still pending, the NFL wants to continue to delay the so-called “discovery” process in separate litigation regarding whether the expenses incurred by the NFL in dealing with these claims are covered by insurance. Via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Daily, the judge presiding over the insurance case seems to be inclined to a lift the longstanding stay of the discovery process.
“Today is 50 months since the suit was filed so everyone should get a round of applause for doing nothing,” said Chris Carrol, lead counsel for the insurance interests that ultimately hope to not provide coverage to the NFL.
Curiously, the judge presiding over the remaining concussion cases appeared at the hearing in the insurance case and urged the NFL to settle the remaining concussion claims. According to Kaplan, Judge Anita Brody said that the league originally regarded her as a “lovely little grandmother” when she first was assigned the concussion lawsuits, and that the NFL has since learned otherwise.
Judge Jeffrey Oing, who is handling the insurance dispute, seemed to be determined to lift the stay, according to Kaplan.
The NFL has successfully kept the insurance case from generating documents and other evidence that could be used in the concussion cases to show that the NFL was aware of the risks of concussions long before acknowledging it publicly. The mere fact that the NFL has fought the commencement of the discovery phase of the insurance case could be interpreted as the NFL having something to hide.
The bulk of the concussion claims are pending on a potential appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, where a handful of former players are doing everything they can to have the settlement negotiated in August 2013 scrapped, pushing the case all the way back to square one.