Houston Attorney Handicaps the NFL Concussion Litigation

Well-known Houston attorney Gene Egdorf of the Lanier Law Firm knows what he is talking about when it comes to multi-district litigation. After all, he helped secure a $4.85 billion settlement in a multi-district proceeding against Merck & Co. over the pain medication Vioxx.

But securing such a settlement may not be quite as easy for the more than 2,000 plaintiffs suing the NFL for its handling of the concussion issue.

Egdorf told the Houston Chronicle last week that one of the biggest challenge for former players is that their health issues were covered under the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA.

The key, according to the attorney is whether the plaintiffs can show that the NFL withheld information from players. If proven, such information would likely not be subject to the CBA. “You can’t negotiate rights you didn’t know you had,” Egdorf told the paper.

Egdorf went on to note that if the cases do go to trial, attorneys for the plaintiffs and the NFL will select “bellwether” parties to be tried first.

“The NFL will try to pick somebody who didn’t play long, doesn’t have apparent injuries and might not be likable,” he said. “The players will try to put up guys with ALS or cases like Dave Duerson or Andre Waters.”

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