NFL LIkely To Rely on Presence of CBA in Concussion Lawsuits

In an article that apppeared in the Sports Business Journal, a journalist quoted Bill  Gould, former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and currently a  Stanford Law School professor, about the NFL’s position that the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement it has with the players nullifies the dozens of concussion lawsuits being brought by ex-players.

“I approach the NFL argument with some measure of skepticism,” Gould told the SBJ. “The  mere fact that there is a CBA with dispute-resolution procedures is only the  beginning [of the analysis].”

He added that the NFL will likely point to the Korey Stringer case as support. Stringer was the Minnesota Vikings lineman who collapsed and died during a workout in August of 2001. After his family sued the NFL, a federal court dismissed the case,  citing the presence of the CBA.

In its initial arguments last fall, the league pointed to Stringer v. National Football League, writing that a federal court “considered a  claim against the NFL nearly identical to this — premised on the NFL’s alleged  failure ‘to minimize the risk of heat-related illness,’ and ‘establish  regulations’ to ensure ‘adequate care and monitoring of players suffering from  heat-related illness’ … [and] held that plaintiff’s claim was completely  preempted by [labor law].”

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