Tag Archives: insurance

Analyzing the Attempts of Insurers To Get Out of Concussion Game

(Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Jarett L. Warner, Counsel at Havkins, Rosenfeld, Ritzert & Varriale in New York City. It appears in the September issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter, which can be accessed here — https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/concussion-litigation-reporter/concussion-litigation-reporter-september-2012/ )

An attempt by an insurance company to disclaim excess coverage to the National Football League (NFL) relating to a multitude of lawsuits and claims by former players concerning neurological and other debilitating injuries has spurred even further litigation.

There have been numerous reports and claims of concussions and other neurological injuries to former NFL players in recent months. One excess insurer, Alterra America Insurance Company (“Alterra”) initially sought a judicial declaration that it is not obligated to pay defense costs or judgments obtained against the NFL relating to these claims and lawsuits. On the heels of Alterra’s declaratory judgment action, the NFL has filed a lawsuit of its own for a declaration that Alterra as well as numerous other insurance companies are obligated to defend and indemnify the NFL. Travelers Insurance Company (“Travelers”) most recently filed its own lawsuit concerning its obligations.

On August 13, 2012, Alterra filed a declaratory judgment action in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York (Supreme Court, New York County. Index No. 652813/12) against the National Football League and NFL Properties, LLC (collectively “NFL”).

In its pleadings, Alterra states that it issued an excess policy to the NFL for the time period of August 1, 2011 until August 1, 2012. The policy issued by Alterra has a limit of $25 million per occurrence and provides coverage to the NFL in excess to Ace American Insurance Company’s $1 million per occurrence commercial general liability policy and in excess of Chartis Insurance Company’s $50 million limit per occurrence umbrella liability policy. Alterra’s pleadings do not indicate the aggregate limits of the respective policies.

In its Complaint, Alterra asserts that the claims of the NFL’s former players neurological injuries were caused by, among other things, the NFL’s negligence and fraud. Alterra claims that although the NFL has tendered some of the underlying actions, it timely disclaimed coverage. The underlying claims tendered by the NFL include alleged debilitating injuries from notable players including, Jamal Lewis, Fred Barnett, Jeff Hostetler, Art Monk, Eric Dickerson and Danny White to name a few.

In its first cause of action, Alterra seeks … (To read the rest of the story, click here — https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/concussion-litigation-reporter/concussion-litigation-reporter-september-2012/ )

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Attorney Suggests Concussion Litigation Could Bankrupt NFL

Pete Strom, a personal injury attorney in Columbia, South Carolina, has gone public with his belief that the NFL could be facing enough in damages with an adverse ruling in the concussion litigation that it could bankrupt the league.

“The big risk for the NFL is the likelihood of this becoming a class action suit as the number of cases grows — it is impractical to hear 5000 individual player’s stories,” he wrote. “Class-action could significantly increase the NFL’s potential damages because the class would grow to include all the individuals in the class. Estimates say there are up to 20,000 former NFL players who would be included.

“The league makes an estimated $9 billion a year and has insurance coverage, so the damages would have to be substantial for the NFL to be driven to bankruptcy. That said, if the suit is 20,000 players and the damages match Derrick Walker’s July lawsuit for $500,000, the NFL could face a loss of $10 billion.”

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September Issue of CLR Goes Live; Features Timely Reporting and Analysis

The September issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter has been published and is available at https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/concussion-litigation-reporter/

This issue is the best ever in terms of breadth of content, including previously unreported judicial opinions involving sports concussions; original articles written by legal practitioners, professors, and medical experts in the field; and multi-sourced stories from our team of journalists.

The table of contents follows:

  • Entering the War Room of NFL Concussion Litigation
  • Concussion legislation: Worth the Paper it’s Written On?
  • Egdorf Focuses on Emerging Liability Questions Arising from Concussions
  • Insurers Attempts To Get Out of Concussion Game
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Suicide, Personality Alterations, and Dementia In Athletes: A Call For Change And Reform
  • State Concussion Legislation – Where We Stand
  • Texas Concussion Law’s Training Requirements Start Kicking In
  • Court Finds for School District in Concussion Case involving Swimmer
  • Court Sustains ADA Claim Brought by Coach Who Suffers from Post-concussion Syndrome
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