Law Professor Says NFL Concussion-Settlement Prediction That Most Players Will Accept May Be Way Off

Although an attorney representing many players regarding a proposed $765 million dollar settlement of concussion-related medical problems says that the vast majority of NFL retirees will accept the controversial deal, this optimism is contradicted by some such as a Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University Law School.

“The tentative deal apparently was to be presented to a federal judge for approval shortly after it was announced many months ago, but even that initial step was held up when the judge, immediately following allegations of possible wrongdoing, appointed a special master to investigate and report back to her,” said Professor John Banzhaf.

Banzhaf went on to quote a Pennsylvania legal journal, which is “reportedly investigating allegations of  ‘double dipping’ on the part of some plaintiffs’ attorneys,” according to a Pennsylvania legal journal.

Banzhaf has predicted that more than 2,000 retirees are likely to opt out of the deal, a prediction he says that is “based upon private conversations, as well as on remarks by other impartial commentators.”

He added that the deal has been “severely criticized by many commentators because of the paucity of the proposed settlement payouts compared to the income and reserves of the NFL, and because it might not provide adequate compensation for many former NFL players for several reasons:

* Many will never get any money because their medical problems cannot be proven to meet the proposed settlement’s high standard for compensation – which is that their condition must be “severe”

* All the money may be paid out to early claimants, so that younger players – many whose conditions are not yet ‘severe’- may be left holding an empty bag

* Payouts will be inadequately small because the overall settlement amount is nowhere near enough to cover all the players who may eventually seek and need financial compensation for their injuries

* Lawyers hired by the individual players may take a big chunk out of their payouts under preexisting contingency fee agreements

“The overall issue is important far beyond the NFL, because similar legal actions have been filed against individual teams and the NCAA, and involve a number of sports and both male and female players,” he added.

“If the settlement does end the matter, current and future players will never learn if the NFL has additional information about the extent and severity of concussion injuries, nor if the league has any additional information which could help mitigate the problems.”

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