Tag Archives: lawsuit
(Editor’s Note: What follows is Paul D. Anderson’s analysis of the suit brought by Junior Seau’s family against the NFL. Paul is the editor of Concussion Litigation Reporter and founder and editor of NFL Concussion Litigation)
In another not-so-surprising fashion, the family of the late Junior Seau filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL and Riddell Helmets.
This will certainly provide a boost to the litigation. Seau is arguably the most prominent player, living or deceased, to join the litigation. (Sorry, Eric Dickerson) Whether this will force the NFL’s hand to start talking settlement is highly doubtful, but it may cause other prominent players to join the NFL Concussion Litigation Club.
Two weeks ago, it was announced that Seau’s brain showed signs of the debilitating neurodegenerative disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Shortly after the announcement was made, the NFL issued a statement – effectively thanking the Seau family for deciding to sue it: “We appreciate the Seau family’s cooperation with the National Institutes of Health.”
These results may have been the turning point in the Seau’s family’s decision to sue the NFL.
Seau’s lawsuit is not unique, however. There are a dozen wrongful death lawsuits pending against the NFL – the most notable are Dave Duerson and Andre Waters, both of whom were diagnosed with CTE.
Seau, however, is the youngest, and he played during an era where the alleged fraud of the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee (1994 – 2009) was likely at its peak.
Similar to the other lawsuits filed outside of Philadelphia (E.D. of PA), Seau’s lawsuit will soon be removed to federal court and then transferred and consolidated with the other 198 concussion lawsuits.
Assuming the players survive all the pre-trial hurdles – which is a BIG assumption – there is a chance that Seau’s lawsuit may be chosen as the first bellwether case. In other words, the plaintiffs’ lawyers may choose to try Seau’s case because it arguably has the best facts.
Bellwether cases are common in mass tort litigation; the purpose is to give an indication to both sides (i.e. plaintiff sand defendants) as to the value, among other things, of the case.
In theory, if the plaintiffs were to try Seau’s case and receive a huge verdict, the NFL would likely want to talk a global settlement to avoid multiple verdicts throughout the country. On the other hand, if Seau’s lawsuit fell on deaf ears and the jury provided a defense verdict, the NFL would – puff out its chest – tell the plaintiffs’ lawyers to bring on more cases – that will, perhaps, be defeated.
All of this talk about jury trials is YEARS away, however. The discovery process alone could take 2-15 years, add all the motion practice, and I don’t think a case would be tried, IF at all, until 2018 at the earliest.
Only time will tell whether Seau’s lawsuit was the one that broke the NFL’s back.
The owners of Battle Sports Science, maker of the Impact Indicator, a concussion-detecting football helmet chin strap, and other sports safety products, are fighting among themselves.
Jeff Evans, co-founder of the Omaha-based company, claimed in a recently filed lawsuit that his partners plotted to fire him, block his access to company accounts and pursue new opportunities without him.
The defendants are co-founders Christopher Circo and Tony Schrager. The men have retained attorney David Hefflinger of McGrath & North.
Among other things, Evans claims Circo and Schrager transferred their interests in Battle Sports to a new firm, Active Brands, without his consent, according to the Omaha World Herald. Evans further claims that he was locked out of the Battle Sports office and has been unable to prevent Circo and Schrager from “recklessly” spending money and breaching contracts.
Evans reportedly claims he is entitled to control of Battle Sports.
Attorney Representing Former College Athletes in Concussion Lawsuit against NCAA Seeks Class Action Status
Chicago Attorney Joe Siprut is seeking class-action status on behalf of several former athletes, who are suing the NCAA for failing to create concussion policies that would have mitigated the damaging effects of the concussions they suffered.
One of the plaintiffs is Adrian Arrington, a former defensive back at Eastern Illinois University. The 26-year-old plaintiff alleged in a lawsuit in 2011 that NCAA officials knew as early as 2003 that multiple concussions could lead to health problems, yet chose not to require concussion policies until 2010. Arrington claimed he endured five concussions. On several times, he alleges, the team doctor cleared him to return to play one day after his injury.
“The lawsuit claims that after Arrington’s first three concussions, Eastern’s team doctor told him he could get back on the field the next day,” according to a story in the Chicago Tribune. “The team sent him to a neurologist only after he started to experience seizures, he alleges, and even then he continued to play, suffering two more concussions before leaving the team near the end of his senior season.”
In response to a NCAA mandate in 2010, EIU reportedly created a five-step process for athletes to return to play. The policy states that the student athlete must be symptom-free for 24 hours before taking the first step — light aerobic exercise — and that only one step can be taken per day. The protocol also calls for athletes to reveal after each step whether any of their symptoms have returned. Siprut has stated that one issue he has with the policy is the lack of an objective standard to determine whether the athlete has improved.