Discovery Could Bog Down Concussion Litigation

If you believe some of the legal experts, it could be five or six years before the discovery process is concluded and a trial can begin in the NFL concussion litigation. That is, if the lawsuits aren’t settled.

ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson had an interesting piece earlier this week that looked at various elements associated with the lawsuits.

Among the more interesting sections was his commentary on discovery.

“The league has a long record of fighting all discovery efforts, and its lawyers will do everything they can to avoid producing the materials and the witnesses that the players need,” wrote Munson.

Why?

“The NFL is entitled to take depositions from each of the players who have filed suit. Each one will take hours,” he continued. “The league is also entitled to what is known in the courts as an ‘independent medical examination’ of each player.

“There is nothing ‘independent’ about these medical exams. The doctor who does the exam is hired and paid by the league’s attorneys and will conclude that the player is not injured, a finding that will assist the NFL in minimizing any settlement. The players will then hire their own physicians, who will do an identical exam and conclude that the player is suffering from an injury that is serious, permanent and disabling… .

“If the players are patient, the discovery process could lead to settlement discussions, but it will seem to be endless, particularly for retired players who are suffering and want immediate relief and do not want to hear about court dates in 2018.”

Meanwwhile, the real winners in all this, if you want to call it that, may be testifying and examining experts, who will be called upon to determine the truth, which in this case will be subject to great interpretation.

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