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January CLR Features Five Original Case Summaries Involving Concussion

January 2017, Vol. 5, No. 7

Timely reporting on developments and legal strategies at the intersection of sports and concussions—articles that benefit practicing attorneys who may be pursuing a claim or defending a client.


  • Analyzing SCOTUS’ Decision to Pass on Reviewing Challenges to the NFL Concussion Settlement
  • State Court Judge Holds Discovery Can Proceed in Litigation Involving NFL and Its Insurers
  • Scientists Claim They Have Discovered Concussion Biomarker
  • Judge to Reconsider Disability Claim Based on Past Concussions, Which Were Previously Not Considered
  • Judge Blocks Concussed Arena Football Player from Recovery Under Insurance Policy
  • Family of Derek Boogaard Asks Federal Judge to Remove Tort Claims to State Court
  • Contradicting Other Studies, Experts Claim Rest May Not Be the Best Concussion Treatment for Everyone
  • Court Deals Blow to Riddell, Which Sought to Shield Documents in Concussion Case
  • Ohio Appeals Court Overturns Ruling in Schmitz Concussion Case, Citing ‘Discovery Rule’
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Lead NCAA Concussion Plaintiff Fires Lawyer to Stop Bad Settlement

The NCAA concussion settlement is losing steam. Witness the following press release put out by the NCPA:

Former Eastern Illinois University football player Adrian Arrington, lead plaintiff in the Arrington v. NCAA concussion lawsuit, terminated his relationship with his lawyer and opposes the preliminary settlement that the law firm asked the judge to approve. 

Arrington released the following statement: 

“The preliminary settlement is completely unacceptable and I never agreed to it.  In fact, the first time I learned about it was in the media.  I feel that I have been misinformed and the preliminary settlement doesn’t address the reasons I filed the lawsuit in the first place.  I would like the judge to reject the preliminary settlement.  I plan to secure new legal representation to continue this fight to protect future players in NCAA sports.

Arrington sustained several concussions while playing football for Eastern Illinois and ultimately decided to stop playing football for health reasons.  He often sustains seizures so powerful that his shoulder frequently dislocates during the event, and suffers from memory loss.  Arrington is 28 years old, has two children, and says he is unable to secure employment because of his condition. 

Arrington recently initiated contact with the NCPA to discuss the lawsuit and ways to help raise awareness among players and families from low-income communities about minimizing the risk of traumatic brain injury in contact sports.   

Arrington spoke with NCPA Executive Director Ramogi Huma.  Huma stated, “Adrian clearly has a tremendous passion for protecting young athletes.  He is serious about making change and will not stand for anything less.”   

During their initial conversation, Huma praised Arrington for his effort to help protect current, former, and future college athletes.  Huma also shared his concerns about the shortcomings of the preliminary settlement to which Arrington’s former lawyers agreed.  The preliminary settlement does not mandate rules to help minimize traumatic brain injury that were adopted on the NFL level i.e. reducing contact during practices and mandatory return-to-play protocols.  In addition, the preliminary settlement does not provide players suffering from brain damage any direct financial support or funds for treatment.  Meanwhile, the preliminary settlement would pay the lawyers approximately $15 million in legal fees. 

Huma stated, “It is a disservice to the current and former players suffering from traumatic brain injuries sustained in NCAA sports.  It is our hope that the judge rejects this preliminary settlement. 

Huma put Arrington in contact with former USC football player and filmmaker Bob DeMars who recently completed a documentary called “The Business of Amateurs”.  DeMars spoke to Arrington and sent him a link that allowed him to be one of the few people to privately view the documentary.  The film includes tragic concussion-related events and highlights gaps in the preliminary settlement agreed to by Arrington’s former lawyers. 

DeMars stated, “Adrian appreciated the opportunity to watch the film and become more informed as he contemplated his legal options.  I respect him immensely for seeking answers and for making the right call.” 

Huma also connected Arrington with former Northwestern football player Kain Colter who began the effort to unionize Northwestern football players last year.  The unionization effort centers largely on empowering players to establish enforceable rules to minimize the risk of traumatic brain injury. 

Colter stated, “Adrian is on the right side of history.  He’s doing everything he can to help protect generations of future players.”  

In addition to mounting a formidable legal challenge to force NCAA sports to protect players, Arrington posted a You Tube video on May 29, 2015 to help inform players and their families about various health and safety issues college athletes face.   

In the video, Arrington states, “I’m a man that went to college that wants to provide…to be out of school to have that degree that nobody can take from me, I still can’t do certain things with that degree because I have a disability in terms of seizures, memory loss… 

In its defense in the Arrington v. NCAA lawsuit, the NCAA stated, “The NCAA denies that it has a legal duty to protect student-athletes.” 

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Getting to Know Sports Concussion Lawyer Steven Pachman

(Editor’s note: What follows is the introduction to an interview that appeared in the February issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter)

Steven Pachman is a partner in the Litigation Department at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP, where he has represented individuals and school systems in sports injury cases arising out of alleged premature return-to-play decisions and other negligence theories.

Given that background, Concussion Litigation Reporter sought him out for an exclusive interview.

Question: When did you know you want to practice law? And why did you decide to practice law?

Answer: I took an “Introduction to Law” course my junior year in college at the University of Maryland, College Park. My professor was impressed with my work, and suggested that I try out for the university’s prestigious mock trial team. I not only made the school’s team, but I ultimately was selected as a member of the specific team that went on to compete in the Finals Round and won the American Mock Trial Association Championship in Des Moines, Iowa. I had such a positive experience that I decided that I wanted to eventually become a litigator and so I applied to law school. After graduation, I started practicing law in Philadelphia, where I still practice 19 years later.

(For the rest of the interview, please subscribe to CLR)

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