Current Litigation

Adrian Robinson

Adrian Robinson Wrongful Death CTE Lawsuit Paints a Stunning Picture of Deceit

May 22, 2017 Sheilla Dingus “This Complaint sets forth an unparalleled story in American sports: it begins with a stunning conspiratorial arrangement and ends with the horrific death of Adrian Robinson, Jr.” So begins a lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania state court on May 15. The complaint reaches back decades into the history of the NFL …

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Jerry Wunsch injury

Amended Lawsuit Brings New Painkiller Allegations Against the NFL

Sheilla Dingus February 27, 2017 On February 22., a group of retired football players filed a 127-page second amended complaint against the 32 teams of the NFL, upping the allegations of painkiller abuse and seeking certification for class-action. Previously Judge Alsup of the Ninth Circuit Court, who is presiding over this case issued an order …

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Are prescription painkillers an NFL sanctioned PED?

Are Prescription Painkillers an NFL Sanctioned PED?

Going into the final stretch of the 2016-2017 season, the NFL has imposed 44 fines or suspensions on players for violations of the league’s substance abuse or performance enhancing substance policies. Much of the substance abuse discipline is related to players’ use of marijuana, some for medical purposes as in the case of Bills OT Seantrel Henderson, who was suspended for using physician prescribed cannabis for symptomatic treatment of Crohn’s Disease, a gastrointestinal disease so painful that it renders many of its sufferers unable to walk. Cannabis is one of the few, and also most effective ways of treating this presently incurable disease. Other players who may use marijuana for pain management related to playing injuries are also subject to suspensions, should they be caught – regardless of whether or not marijuana use is legal in the state where they live.
Numerous other players have faced fines and suspensions for ingesting performance enhancing drugs, several, allegedly by accident. Eagles RT Lane Johnson has filed a lawsuit against both the NFL and Players’ Association claiming in addition to a number of procedural violations that the Aegis app provided to players is not accurate and the union isn’t doing enough to protect players from accidental ingestion of banned substances.
The one class of drugs the NFL does not appear to have a problem with is painkillers – both of the opioid and NSAID variety – yet these are allegedly used outside the boundaries of medical guidelines constituting imposed substance abuse for the sole purpose of enhancing players’ ability to perform and remain in the game. If statements made by dozens of former players and a handful of active players are true – and I see little if any reason for doubt, – then the NFL is engaged in a dangerous hypocrisy regarding drug use.

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Bid to add Carlos Rogers to NFL painkiller lawsuit denied

Bid to Add Ex-NFLer Carlos Rogers to Painkiller Lawsuit Against NFL Clubs is Denied

Sheilla Dingus November 22, 2017 The NFL and its member clubs have been engaged in ongoing lawsuits seeking accountability for the damages to former players resulting from improper and illegal use of prescription painkillers to keep injured players on the field. Note: Since this article is primarily a case update, if you haven’t followed it …

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denial

Claim Delays and Denials Taint NFL Concussion Settlement

August 16, 2017 Sheilla Dingus In June 2014, after Judge Brody threw out a $765 million concussion settlement agreement as insufficient the NFL agreed to an uncapped monetary amount which was approved on April 22, 2015 and became final on May 8, 2015.  As noted in an article that I wrote prior to payouts beginning, …

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Jerry Jones addresses player in locker room

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones to be Deposed in RX Painkiller Lawsuit

On Monday, a California judge ruled that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be required to give deposition testimony under oath regarding his knowledge of how prescription pain killers are used in keeping injured players on the field.
In May of last year a suit was filed against the thirty-two member Clubs of the NFL…

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Dr. Bennet Omalu

CTE Expert Dr. Bennet Omalu Challenges NHL’s “Alternative Facts”

“They deny the truth and humanity of science in order to protect their revenue streams.” Sheilla Dingus February 9, 2017 On Wednesday as Judge Anita Brody held a conference detailing registration and award information regarding the well publicized NFL concussion settlement, renowned neuropathologist and researcher Dr. Bennet Omalu, submitted a sixteen-page letter defending the integrity …

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R. C. Owens - Header

Delays, Denials, Dementia, and Death – the NFL’s Gift to R. C. and Susan Owens

September 16, 2017 Sheilla Dingus “I intimately know of the pain, responsibility and exacerbation and care taking of my husband who I thought would take care of me,” says Susan Owens, widow of former NFL/49ers wide receiver R. C. “Alley Oop” Owens.  “Instead, my husband turned into a stranger who seemed to hate me for …

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Football is family - yeah, right.

Denial of NFL Player’s Disability Claim Shrouded in Inconsistencies and Conflicts of Interest

“Football is family.” That’s the warm, fuzzy sentiment the NFL broadcasts time and again every Sunday (and Monday and Thursday) to all who will listen. The harsh truth of the matter is “football is family” as long as you’re generating revenue for the league. Jesse Solomon played nine years in the NFL. During his career as a linebacker for the Vikings, Cowboys, Buccaneers, Falcons, and Dolphins it is estimated that he experienced at least 69,000 full-speed contact hits.

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Lane Johnson

Eagles’ Tackle Lane Johnson Claims His Suspension is a Result of “Misconduct” by NFL, NFLPA

In response to a 10-game suspension for violation of the league’s Performing Enhancing Substances Policy, Philadelphia Eagles tackle Lane Johnson claims he was denied a “fundamentally fair hearing and was instead subjected to an arbitration scheme so deeply flawed as to forever preclude the possibility of a fair outcome,” in a lawsuit filed against the NFL and NFLPA last week. The suit follows a complaint of similar allegations filed with the National Labor Relations Board and Department of Labor, by Johnson last November.

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Blood in the Water

Feeding Frenzy Ensues as Lawyers Vie for Fees in NFL Concussion Settlement

Sheilla Dingus April 9, 2017 There’s blood in the water.  An uncapped class action settlement and $112.5 million in an attorney fee common benefit fund has many lawyers engaged in a feeding frenzy for their piece of the pie, leaving many retired NFL players and their families perplexed and distressed as to if they will …

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Hall of Fame Game Suit

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Lane Johnson

Is Lane Johnson’s Lawsuit Against the NFL and NFLPA a Magnifying Glass into Larger Problems?

May 8, 2017 Sheilla Dingus @SheillaDingus Last week Lane Johnson filed a reply in response to the NFLPA’s opposition to vacate an arbitration award in which he was suspended for ten games for violating the collectively bargained policy on performance enhancing substances.  The lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of Ohio in January, …

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painkillers

Judge’s Order Keeps NFL Painkiller Lawsuit Alive

On February 3, Judge William Alsup ruled on a Motion to Dismiss filed by the member clubs of the NFL, granting in part and denying in part, thus allowing a proposed class-action painkiller suit filed by retired NFL players to move forward. The lawsuit, one of two currently in the Ninth Circuit, claims that the NFL and its member clubs created a “return to play” culture that placed players at greater risk of permanent injury and potential organ damage by administering high dosages of pain medications over a prolonged period of time without issuing any warning of adverse effects.

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Lane Johnson

Lane Johnson Violates a Court Order to Engage in a “Turf War” with the NFL and NFLPA

A short time later, the NFLPA filed a sealed motion to dismiss. Both the NFL and NFLPA agree that Johnson’s arbitration ruling was correctly upheld because by his own admission he ingested the substance in question and that the lawsuit should be moved to New York, claiming the case has no connection to Ohio outside of it being the location of Johnson’s lawyers.
On February 8, Judge Sara Lioi issued an order staying, or placing on hold the proceedings until she could render a decision on the motions to dismiss or transfer. In violation of the order, Johnson presented the judge with a “Valentine gift” on February 14, in filing an amended complaint which attempted to show further case connections to Ohio.

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Medicare Lien

Negotiations taking place on NFL Concussion Settlement Medical Liens

July 16, 2017 Sheilla Dingus @SheillaDingus As the time for registration in the NFL concussion settlement winds down, claims are beginning to be processed and opt-out complaints are moving forward. I reported in April about the legal “feeding frenzy” that is taking place as attorneys vie for fees in the settlement; new liens are filed …

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NFL vs. Insurers

NFL Admits “Controversy Exists” with Insurers in Regard to Concussion Settlement

Sheilla Dingus February 20, 2017 Updated February 25, 2017 The NFL has been engaged in an ongoing dispute with its insurers in regard to concussions and who is responsible to pay for the damages.  Travelers Insurance, which is the second-largest U.S. writer of commercial property and casualty insurance, filed suit against the NFL in August …

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Darryl Ashmore w/ Oakland Raiders

NFL Admits Denial of Veteran Player’s Disability Benefits Without Review of Medical Records

In the latest NFL Disability Plan response to a lawsuit filed by eleven-year veteran offensive lineman Darryl Ashmore in regard to denial of his disability claim, the Plan attorneys admit that his medical records haven’t even been reviewed! When I previously reported on this story, I noted his claim of disabilities resulting from eleven seasons in the NFL: chief among them, the neurological impact of frequent and severe migraines, encephalopathy, memory loss, depression, anxiety, impaired concentration, nausea and hypertension, as well as the physical manifestations of chronic pain in his neck, knees, back, wrist, and shoulders attributed to herniated discs, and degenerative arthritis.

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NFL Concussion Settlement Maze

NFL Concussion Settlement is Becoming More of an Obstacle Course than Finish Line for Retired Players

October 9, 2017 Sheilla Dingus The “bottomless” NFL Concussion Settlement, once regarded by NFL retirees as the conclusion to a long, hard fought race has devolved into a marathon maze laden with hurdles that appear to obscure any semblance of a finish-line. On August 15 a motion was filed asking the Court to determine proper …

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Concussion settlement payouts?

NFL Concussion Settlement payouts begin – sort of…

August 7, 2017 Sheilla Dingus @SheillaDingus Monday August 7, was the final day for registration in the NFL’s “uncapped” concussion settlement, but for many players and their families, issues are far from settled.  Numerous former opt-outs, who had decided to pursue their own litigation against the league apart from the concussion settlement, opted back in …

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discovery

NFL Ordered by Appeals Court to Proceed with Discovery

The NFL’s insurers are not happy. Concussions are eventually going to cost someone a lot of money and it’s now a question of who’s going to be on the hook for the bill. NFL insurer, Alterra, first brought suit against the league in August 2012, as former individual players began suing for latent injury against the NFL in regard to the hidden and misrepresented danger of concussions. At first all the NFL’s insurers appeared to want was a bit of cooperation and an exchange of information, which seems reasonable if they’re expected to pay the claim. The NFL was not forthcoming, so the insurers pushed back.

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NFLPA grievance

NFLPA Files Grievance Against NFL for CBA Medical Violations

May 9, 2017 Sheilla Dingus @SheillaDingus In an unusual legal twist, NFL Counsel Paul Clement filed a letter with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday citing a grievance against the NFL and its Clubs by the NFLPA. The grievance claims violations of the CBA in regard to the mishandling of prescription drugs as …

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DeMaurice Smith / Lane Johnson

NFLPA Uses Deflategate Precedent Against Lane Johnson

A short time later, the NFLPA filed a sealed motion to dismiss. Both the NFL and NFLPA agree that Johnson’s arbitration ruling was correctly upheld because by his own admission he ingested the substance in question and that the lawsuit should be moved to New York, claiming the case has no connection to Ohio outside of it being the location of Johnson’s lawyers.
On February 8, Judge Sara Lioi issued an order staying, or placing on hold the proceedings until she could render a decision on the motions to dismiss or transfer. In violation of the order, Johnson presented the judge with a “Valentine gift” on February 14, in filing an amended complaint which attempted to show further case connections to Ohio.

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Painkillers in the NFL Part III

Painkiller Abuse in the NFL Part III: A Tale of Two Lawsuits

Painkiller use is part of a largely unseen culture within professional sports in general, and the NFL in particular. While no one would question the need for painkillers in a sport as inherently physical as professional football, where to draw the line between legitimate pain management and painkillers as a tool for exploitation of athletes is much less clear.

As I described in Part I, a culture has developed within the league that prioritizes getting the best players on the field in order to win football games, giving fans the star players they want to see, and most importantly from a league perspective, to generate ever increasing revenue.

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Art DeCarlo

Recent Court Ruling in DeCarlo Wrongful Death Lawsuit May Prove Beneficial to Other CTE Cases

In November 2015 a wrongful death law suit was filed against the NFL by Arthur DeCarlo Jr., son of Arthur “Art” DeCarlo Sr., who was a defensive back in the NFL from 1953 through 1960. Drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1953, DeCarlo Sr. was quickly traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers where he played for a year prior to enlistment in the Army. While still in the Army, his contract was traded to the Washington Redskins. Afterward, he finished his NFL career playing for the Baltimore Colts from 1957 – 1960. “DeCarlo was exposed to numerous concussive and sub-concussive blows throughout his NFL career, [including] . . . loss-of-consciousness concussions where DeCarlo was subsequently returned to game play within the same game, within several plays of having been rendered unconscious,” states DeCarlo Jr., in the lawsuit.

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Strikes For Kids Charity Files Emergency Motion to Compel Deposition of Roger Goodell

Strikes for Kids, a charity that benefits children’s and youth organizations planned a bowling event for July 12 of last year, in which twenty-five NFL players were scheduled to attend and assist in raising money for Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada. The event was to take place at Strike Zone Bowling Center, a bowling alley that is part of the Sunset Hotel and Casino complex. According to court documents, in late June 2015, a mere two weeks prior to the event, Joseph Allen, the founder of Strikes for Kids, was contacted by a lawyer from the NFL’s office in New York, with alleged concern that NFL players attending the Charity Event would be in violation of the NFL gambling policy.

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NFL Painkiller Lawsuit

Two Remaining Plaintiffs in NFL Painkiller Lawsuit Fight to Keep Case Alive

June 23, 2017 Sheilla Dingus @SheillaDingus A lawsuit that began with numerous accusations against all 32 NFL Clubs by 14 former players was whittled down to what Judge Alsup deemed “sufficiently pled” allegations against 14 teams by 9 players last month, but in accordance with Alsup’s interpretation of the statue of limitations he found all …

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Ezekiel Elliott

What’s next for Ezekiel Elliott and NFL Domestic Violence Policy?

The NFL has botched a number of domestic violence investigations over the past few years unleashing a public relations nightmare for the league. A seemingly contrite Roger Goodell pledged to do better after public outrage from the Ray Rice fiasco nearly cost the NFL a lucrative Anheiser Busch relationship. Part of his new “get tough plan” included a baseline six-game suspension for first-time domestic violence offenders. Then last year he reduced that suspension for unknown mitigating circumstances to a mere one-game suspension for Giants’ kicker Josh Brown; that is until Brown’s own journal admitting abuse surfaced in the media. Another firestorm of public rage erupted, again bringing into question the NFL’s seriousness in regard to domestic violence. The NFL needed to get the next one right. Enter Ezekiel Elliott.

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Hall of Famer Richard Dent

Will the NFLPA’s grievance impact current painkiller litigation against the NFL?

May 10, 2017 Sheilla Dingus @SheillaDingus Richard Dent is a Hall of Fame defensive end, and MVP of Super Bowl XX, but now his opponent is the league for which he once played – and it may prove to be his fiercest opponent of all.  In May 2014 Dent, along with nine other named plaintiffs …

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Untangling the NFL's Painkiller Web

Painkiller Lawsuits: Un-Tangling the NFL’s Web of Secrecy Part I

Herein lies a sordid tale. It’s certainly no secret that the NFL is a highly guarded enterprise, only sparingly leaking the information they wish to make known. While a few high profile cases surface in the headlines, most litigation is seldom if ever reported. While making thousands of appearances in courtrooms annually, the NFL’s high-powered legal teams have been quite adept at keeping most of its dirty laundry in the hamper.

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