Aug 07

$500 Million Pitcher of Kool-Aid

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/08/07/500-million-pitcher-of-kool-aid/

Aug 01

Updates!

I’m a bit behind in updating the blog homepage, so here’s a recap of our most recent work and also a few blasts from the past and other tidbits of interest.  ~Sheilla

NFL Concussion Settlement Opt-Out cases are back in the news – sort of.  While not receiving mainstream news coverage some important developments are taking place within the court.  A recent, and to my knowledge unreported development outside Law360 and here is Judge Brody’s decision to issue an order demanding medical records of the majority of opt-out plaintiffs. This is a ruling of great significance that could result in many cases being tossed without having the benefit of complete motion practice, mutual discovery, or trial.  I explain in detail here:

Judge Hurls Lone Pine Order at NFL Concussion Settlement Opt-Outs. Could this be an axe to their cases?

True or False? The Constitution of the United States of America guarantees every injured party his or her day in court?  You’d have been correct with either answer.  While the Constitution does make that guarantee, other laws and pleading rules tend to cloud it. That’s the situation players who opted out of the NFL Concussion Settlement are looking at due to a recently filed order. Read More about “Judge Hurls Lone Pine Order at NFL Concussion Settlement Opt-Outs. Could this be an axe to their cases?”

At the present time, the lawsuit filed on behalf of the daughter of Aaron Hernandez is considered an opt-out, although Hernandez neither opted into or out of the settlement, and has filed claims substantially different from most others in the opt-out designation.   I’ve analyzed recent motions in this case that will likely keep it afloat or torpedo it.

One group of opt-out players, who spent their careers with Missouri teams have filed claims based on state law against the Chiefs and Cardinals.  This article was written before oral arguments were held in April 2018.  No additional information is available on the public docket in respect to this case, but the arguments are summarized here:

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”

Retired NFL players are not the only athletes facing challenges in having their league accountable for brain injuries the dangers of which were hidden and mishandled. The proposed class action against the National Hockey League failed to receive class certification, leaving the players and their claims in limbo.  Derek and I teamed up for a two-part series analyzing the denial of class certification and projecting the road ahead.

Class Certification Denied in NHL Concussion Litigation – An analysis of the decision and future implications

Last Friday, Judge Susan Richard Nelson issued a decision denying class certification in the NHL Concussion Litigation, consolidated in Minnesota District Court in August 2014. The case revolves around claims that the NHL has concealed the risks and dangers of brain damage inherent to the sport of professional hockey for decades, as well as rendering improper diagnoses and treatment, prioritizing profit at the expense of the health and safety of those playing the game. Part I of this series analyses Judge Nelson’s ruling and how the case arrived at this point, and Part II will analyze the impact of the ruling and what the players must prove in order to prevail. Read More about “Class Certification Denied in NHL Concussion Litigation – An analysis of the decision and future implications”

What’s next for retired NHL players in their quest for brain injury accountability?

If no appeal is filed, the burden of “pushing the puck” of NHL concussion litigation further “up the ice” toward the goal lies even more firmly on the shoulders of the current and former players who feel they have been wronged. In comments to Hockey News, Stuart Davidson, another attorney representing the players stated, “walking away is not an option,” and hinted that the Steve Montador wrongful death suit may be the first individual case to go to trial.  Comments from William Gibbs of Corboy and Demetrio, who individually represents the Montador estate, seemed to confirm. Read More about “What’s next for retired NHL players in their quest for brain injury accountability?”

Retired NFL players who did not opt out of the settlement have seen a slight uptick of claims approvals, but continue to face challenges. See the thread below for more information (click to expand).

Settlement claims reports have been revamped and have been consolidated with other reports in a summary report.  I wrote about the changes here.

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:”

Shortly after I wrote the article above, Claims Administrator Brown Greer submitted a status report that explained the changes in detail as well as adding additional relevant information.  The report is embedded below:

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/08/01/updates/

Jul 19

NHL and NFL Concussion Litigation Updates

Sheilla and Derek teamed up for a two part series analysing Judge Nelson’s ruling to deny class certification in NHL Concussion Injury Litigation, in part 1 and then forecasting what’s ahead in part 2.

Part 1:

Class Certification Denied in NHL Concussion Litigation – An analysis of the decision and future implications

Last Friday, Judge Susan Richard Nelson issued a decision denying class certification in the NHL Concussion Litigation, consolidated in Minnesota District Court in August 2014. The case revolves around claims that the NHL has concealed the risks and dangers of brain damage inherent to the sport of professional hockey for decades, as well as rendering improper diagnoses and treatment, prioritizing profit at the expense of the health and safety of those playing the game. Part I of this series analyses Judge Nelson’s ruling and how the case arrived at this point, and Part II will analyze the impact of the ruling and what the players must prove in order to prevail. Read More about “Class Certification Denied in NHL Concussion Litigation – An analysis of the decision and future implications”

Part 2:

What’s next for retired NHL players in their quest for brain injury accountability?

If no appeal is filed, the burden of “pushing the puck” of NHL concussion litigation further “up the ice” toward the goal lies even more firmly on the shoulders of the current and former players who feel they have been wronged. In comments to Hockey News, Stuart Davidson, another attorney representing the players stated, “walking away is not an option,” and hinted that the Steve Montador wrongful death suit may be the first individual case to go to trial.  Comments from William Gibbs of Corboy and Demetrio, who individually represents the Montador estate, seemed to confirm. Read More about “What’s next for retired NHL players in their quest for brain injury accountability?”

The NFL Concussion Settlement also saw a couple of noteworthy filings this week.  Sheilla details them with links to the court documents in the Twitter threads below. (Hint for non-Twitter users: Click on the tweet to view the entire thread.)

 

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/07/19/nhl-and-nfl-concussion-litigation-updates/

Jul 05

Independence Day Reflections

July 4, 2018

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/07/05/independence-day-reflections/

Jun 24

A lawsuit initiated…and another won…at long last

June 24, 2018

Ashmore Case Reflects Difficulty Disabled NFL Retirees Endure to Receive Benefits

The NFL has a long and shameful history of denial of retired players’ disability benefits, and though collectively bargained, the NFLPA has been of little if any help in the matter.  Because of the structure of the Bert Bell-Pete Rozelle Disability Plan, money going to compensate retired players affects the salary cap available to compensate active players and thus a major conflict of interest is created.  Read More about “Ashmore Case Reflects Difficulty Disabled NFL Retirees Endure to Receive Benefits”

Former NHLers Nick Boynton and Daniel Carcillo call for accountability in a new lawsuit and appeals through Players Tribune

On Thursday, two former NHL players, Daniel Carcillo and Nick Boynton, who have been increasingly critical of the leagues handling of fighting and denial of the risk of brain injury have filed a lawsuit against the NFL in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The players assert that the NHL, outside of any collective bargaining agreement has a duty to keep its players safe.
Read More about “Former NHLers Nick Boynton and Daniel Carcillo call for accountability in a new lawsuit and appeals through Players Tribune”

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/06/24/a-lawsuit-initiated-and-another-won-at-long-last/

Jun 21

New Concussion Settlement Filing Gives Peek Into NFL’s War on Claims

June 21, 2018

I didn’t have time to do an article, however this twitter thread, with attached PDF will give an idea as to the lengths the league will go to in order to circumvent payment of settlement awards.  The claim on which this brief is based is for a younger player with Level 1.5 dementia. (Click on the tweet to open the full thread.)

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/06/21/new-concussion-settlement-filing-gives-peek-into-nfls-war-on-claims/

Jun 06

Recent Articles

June 11, 2018

NFL Concussion Settlement Issues Appealed to Third Circuit

“Though it is not perfect, it is fair,” was the opinion handed down from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2016, when the appellate court ruled in favor of the Settlement designated to compensate retired NFLers for brain injury that was approved by Judge Brody in almost a year earlier in 2015.  While a group of players appealed the Third Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court, in December 2016 the High Court declined to hear the case, finalizing the Settlement with player registrations beginning in January 2017 and claims submissions in March of that year. A year and a half into settlement implementation the Settlement has been plagued with problems and controversies, not the least of which are low dementia claim approvals, and NFL allegations of widespread fraud for which it seeks a special investigator.  Attorneys for the players dispute the pervasive fraud alleged by the NFL, a problem largely of their own making, but these are not the only areas where controversy exists. Like a boomerang, two of these controversies have made their way back to the Third Circuit… Read More about “NFL Concussion Settlement Issues Appealed to Third Circuit”

June 9, 2018

Phil Colwell: A profile of one CFL player’s battle with brain injury

On the windswept, rainy, Isle of Arran, off the west coast of Scotland, former CFL fullback Phil Colwell is taking life such as it is one day at a time.
Colwell only played in the CFL for two seasons in the early 80s, yet he believes the major health issues he is now suffering through are directly attributable to his time in the league with concussion injury being his main complaint, along with back, hip and neck issues. Read More about “Phil Colwell: A profile of one CFL player’s battle with brain injury”

June 5, 2018

The CFL’s Canary in a Coal Mine

Over the past decade or so, evidence that something was wrong with former NFL players’ brains has grown exponentially.  The living, and even the dead told tales that the NFL did not want to hear.
During that time Boston University CTE researchers established a brain bank to “better understand the long term effects of repetitive head trauma” on football players and at that time, the CFL took notice, seeing it as the first, dangerous, shot across the bow for their league. Read More about “The CFL’s Canary in a Coal Mine”

May 23, 2018

HBO Real Sports Pulls Back Curtain on NFL’s Claims of Fraud in the Concussion Settlement

Who’s defrauding whom? The NFL has decried massive fraud in the much-heralded uncapped settlement purposed to compensate retired NFL players for brain injuries but far from living up to its promise, HBO reports in a May 22 segment, “only ten percent of players who’ve filed claims for payment have received any money. That includes only one percent of all claims for dementia. One percent.” Read More about “HBO Real Sports Pulls Back Curtain on NFL’s Claims of Fraud in the Concussion Settlement”

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/06/06/recent-articles/

May 15

From our contributors:

May 13, 2018

May 15, 2018

Conflicts of interest appear to abound in CFLAA

The CFLAA states as its mission, “The Canadian Football League Alumni Association unites former CFL players in support of sport, youth, and health related charitable causes, former players experiencing a medical challenge that creates a financial hardship, and the promotion of football in the community.”  These goals inherently create a conflict of interest for the organization.  Read More about “Conflicts of interest appear to abound in CFLAA”

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/05/15/from-our-contributors/

May 08

The latest

May 8, 1018

May 2, 2018

Canada, football, and brain injuries: Will the “better angels of our nature” ever prevail?

It’s a foregone conclusion that the CFL has been aided and abetted with their curious CTE dog and pony show by a lot of the Canadian media who continue to flog the not ready for prime-time Dr. Tator “extreme caution” mantra when diagnosing the CTE gelded pinto. But here’s another question: “is the CFL also getting some muddy the CTE waters help from the Canadian Football League Alumni Association helmed by the Leo Ezerins?” Read More about “Canada, football, and brain injuries: Will the “better angels of our nature” ever prevail?”

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/05/08/the-latest/

Apr 28

Most Recent:

5/2/2018

Canada’s League of Denial

When the book and documentary League of Denial appeared in 2013, I wondered where the concussion and brain/disease injury awareness situation sat for the Canadian Football League.
Unlike the National Football League and other interested observers’ slow and reluctant acknowledgement of football concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the CFL has, for the most part, enjoyed a curious detachment from the issue. Read More about “Canada’s League of Denial”

4/28/2018

Amid disturbing allegations of misconduct Chris Seeger cries “foul”

In the largely private world of class action and multi-district litigation settlement implementation one has reason to question the efficacy for plaintiffs versus the defense of settlements which often seem more valuable to defendants than those they were designed to compensate.  A prime example of this is the much-heralded NFL concussion settlement. Read More about “Amid disturbing allegations of misconduct Chris Seeger cries “foul””

4/27/2018

Disappearance of Len Sparks adds to CFL family’s CTE turmoil

The 1960s was a time of seismic cultural and societal change and an immense sense of energy crackled in the air in all aspects of life.  And in that metric, the Canadian Football League would arguably enjoy their most golden decade with powerhouse teams like the Hamilton Tiger Cats, Ottawa Rough Riders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders who among them, captured 9 national championships in the 60s.
Leonard (Len) Sparks, a full football scholarship star player at Wyoming, was a northern Ontario boy who came south lured by the legitimacy of play in the CFL and eventually played for four different CFL teams between 1963 and 1969.  As a solid defensive back/end, Sparks was subjected to the terrible violence of the game at a time when helmets were little more than a lightly padded plastic shell, spearing and chop blocking with a head lead were routine and “concussion protocol” was a farfetched fantasy. A ringing of one’s bell, and “how many fingers do you see and what city are you in.” “Real men” sucked it up and went back to getting their noggins knocked again and again. Read More about “Disappearance of Len Sparks adds to CFL family’s CTE turmoil”

Permanent link to this article: http://advocacyforfairnessinsports.org/2018/04/28/most-recent/

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