Attorneys for Locks Law Firm filed their ninth lawsuit against the NFL yesterday, and the firm’s first in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a class action on behalf of all former NFL players who reside in Pennsylvania.
The class representatives are: Reggie Wilkes, a former linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons; Frank LeMaster, a former linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles; and Mike Evans, a former offensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles. This brings the number of players and spouses represented by the Locks Law Firm in the NFL Brain Injury Litigation to more than 400. The federal litigation has been transferred to and consolidated in the federal court in Philadelphia with the first hearing set to begin on April 25.
The suit charges that the NFL and other defendants intentionally and fraudulently misrepresented and/or concealed medical evidence about the short and long-term risks regarding repetitive traumatic brain impacts and concussions and failed to warn players that they risked permanent brain damage if they returned to play too soon after sustaining a concussion.
“We have filed this state court class action to protect players who are Pennsylvania residents and not yet filed their claims. We didn’t want the statute of limitations to run on them. We hope this will help protect their interests,” said Locks Law Firm founding partner, Gene Locks.
Other law firm partners filing with Locks include Michael Leh and David Langfitt. Among other issues, the suit charges that the NFL voluntarily joined the scientific research as well as public and private discussions regarding the relationship between concussions and brain impairment when it created the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) Committee in 1994. Rather than naming a noted neurologist to chair this committee, it appointed Dr. Elliott Pellman, a rheumatologist employed by the New York Jets, whose training was in the treatment of joints and muscles, not head injuries. As stated in the Complaint, Pellman’s employment by the Jets was a clear conflict of interest. Although the committee was established with the stated purpose of researching and lessening the impact of concussions on NFL players, it failed to inform players of the true risks associated with repetitive head trauma.
The lawsuit was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The Plaintiffs seek medical monitoring, compensation, and financial recovery for the short-term, long-term, and chronic injuries, financial and intangible losses, and expenses for the individual former and present NFL players and their spouses.
Locks said the firm plans to file additional suits on behalf of other NFL players in the coming weeks.