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Jan 27

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Latest Articles 1/27/18

It’s Time To Declare The NFL Concussion Settlement A State Of Emergency

Daunting. Despicable. Dirty. Disastrous.   Those are just a few adjectives that come to mind when evaluating the NFL’s torrent of delays and denials of brain injury claims brought by former NFL players.  Mentally impaired men and their anxious families have been forced to jump through unconscionable hoops and endure painful audits, delays and denials while finding themselves accused of being liars and frauds by the league they once loved and sacrificed their health for. Read More about “It’s Time To Declare The NFL Concussion Settlement A State Of Emergency”

NFL Concussion Settlement Attorneys Respond to Law Professor’s Fee Recommendations

On December 11, Harvard law professor William Rubenstein filed a 47-page report with the Court detailing his recommendations regarding attorney fees as he’d been commissioned to do in September. His recommendations consisted of (1) Denying the 5% holdback from all approved awards to fund future implementation work on the settlement as requested by Co-Lead Class Counsel Chris Seeger, and (2) Capping individual attorney fees at 15%. The professor’s report appeared well reasoned and presented, but as pointed out in the 12 responses, he seemed to lack some critical information when he prepared the it, including correct actuaries on player demographics and anticipated awards as well as the immense difficulty in getting claims approved. Since Professor Rubenstein is a highly intelligent man, several attorneys have indicated to me that they wonder how he could have been shielded from current and pertinent information on which they feel would have changed the recommendations of the report. Read More about “NFL Concussion Settlement Attorneys Respond to Law Professor’s Fee Recommendations”

NFL Concussion Settlement FAQs Part 4: Lawyers and Liens

I recall stories related to me by retired players who are struggling and their family members.  Men who constantly get lost and then sit in their cars for hours waiting to gain their bearings and figure out where they are so they can drive home or for someone in their family to find them.  Men who have difficulty remembering how to get dressed.  Men who can’t remember how to use a can opener.  Just before Christmas a distraught wife told me how difficult it was for her when she gave her husband a Christmas card for their daughter for him to sign.  She said that he looked at her with a blank stare and then asked, “Should I just sign it [first name]?  She had to remind him, “No, sign it ‘Dad.’”  I could go on and on.  But the FAQs these guys are supposed to understand need to be deciphered so onward I suppose.  The remaining FAQs address lawyers and liens. Read More about “NFL Concussion Settlement FAQs Part 4: Lawyers and Liens”

The FAQs About NFL Concussion Settlement Claims

The NFL Concussion Settlement has been anything but an easy process for the neurologically impaired class of retired football players. As of December 27 – ten months after the claims process began – a meager 13% — 206 monetary awards out of 1913 filed claims. As an observer noted, if claims continue to be processed at this rate, it will take approximately 4 years to process the current case load – and that doesn’t even account for the additional claims that will be filed. Read More about “The FAQs About NFL Concussion Settlement Claims”

The Facts About NFL Concussion Settlement FAQs

On December 1, a proposed document of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) was posted via Electronic Court Filing (ECF) to the NFL Concussion Settlement docket.  The purpose of the FAQ document is to aid the neurologically impaired football players who are class members to the settlement in understanding its terms and filing their claims.  During the enrollment period for the settlement, when retired NFL players had to make a choice between enrollment in the settlement, opting out, or ignoring it all together, in order to encourage enrollment Co-Lead Class Counsel Christopher Seeger, along with Claims Administrator Brown Greer portrayed the enrollment and claims processes as “simple.”  They encouraged retirees to not hire independent counsel for this reason.  They were told if they had a qualifying diagnosis their claims would be approved, and a 30-60 day window was referenced as an estimated approval time.  As a result, approximately 20,000 retired players or their representatives registered for the program, including many who had previously objected or opted out. Read More about “The Facts About NFL Concussion Settlement FAQs”

NFL Concussion Settlement Opt-Out Plaintiffs Take on Chiefs & Cardinals

In Part 1 of this series I detailed how §301 of the Labor Management Relations Act is the NFL’s number one go-to defense.  This provision brings cases filed in various state courts against the league into federal jurisdiction when reliance on CBA interpretation is necessary.  Often when the NFL successfully invokes this provision, especially in lawsuits involving retired players, there is no legal standing for the lawsuit under the CBA and the case is dismissed typically without extensive exploration the merits and allegations of illegal or unethical conduct. Read More about “NFL Concussion Settlement Opt-Out Plaintiffs Take on Chiefs & Cardinals”

NFL Concussion Settlement Claims Report:

In keeping with Judge Anita Brody’s announcement following a closed hearing with Chris Seeger, NFL Counsel, and Special Masters, a claims report dated December 11, 2017 has been posted to the settlement website.  The seven-page PDF document  which details the current status of claims highlights numerous issues in the settlement, not the least of which is a mere 10% approval of submitted claims. Read More about “NFL Concussion Settlement Claims Report:”

Harvard Law Professor Advises Concussion Settlement Court to Cap Attorney Fees

In September, Harvard Law Professor William B. Rubenstein was appointed by Judge Anita Brody to weigh in on controversies surrounding attorney fees, including a 5% hold back that Co-Lead Class Counsel Christopher Seeger requisitioned as payment for future work in settlement implementation.
In a well-reasoned 47-page report, Professor Rubenstein recommended against withholding the additional 5% from Class Members monetary awards and advised a 15% cap on contingency feels from independently retained counsel.  Judge Brody has given a January 3 deadline for responses to the expert opinion.
Withholding 5% of every award is unreasonable
Prior to Professor Rubenstein’s report, every other attorney who publicly expressed an opinion on the subject, as well as members of the class of retired NFL players expressed opposition to the proposed 5% holdback.  Professor Rubenstein agreed.  As the professor noted, Seeger felt that the $112.5 million common benefit (of which Seeger claims over $70 million) should go to pay for securing of the settlement and the 5% for implementation of it, but as Rubenstein said, “Class Counsel bear the burden of proving the need for a 5% set-aside, but their artificial bifurcation of settlement and implementation – and hence the justification for the 5% set-aside – fails to meet that burden for at least six reasons.” Read More about “Harvard Law Professor Advises Concussion Settlement Court to Cap Attorney Fees”

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/01/27/latest-articles-1-27-18/