Tag Archives: class

Former Wrestlers Team Up Against World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Regarding Concussions

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an article written by Sports Law Professor Michael S. Carroll, PhD and  Andrew L. Goldsmith, PhD about the concussion litigation involving the WWE. To see the full story, subscribe to Concussion Litigation Reporter at this link – https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

Growing concern over the past few years regarding the impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussions among athletes in contact sports has resulted in a number of policy and rule changes within a variety of sport organizations. Additionally, litigation has ensued against a number of these organizations, including the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), mostly based in negligence liability. Although concussions and TBI are most often associated with the sport of football, especially given the recent high-profile $765 NFL concussion settlement, athletes in other sports often face the same if not more extreme physical contact and violence. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) has operated in the US since 1952, providing professional wrestling entertainment to hundreds of millions of fans through television, film, music, videogames, product licensing, and product sales. It is the largest professional wrestling organization in the world, and hosts hundreds of events a year that are broadcasted to over 650 million viewers in over 170 countries. WWE provides sports entertainment, which could be described as aggressive ballet, to viewers through semi-scripted contests and events between wrestlers, while simultaneously following various storylines. Violence and aggression are a natural part of professional wrestling, and injuries are quite common among wrestlers, sometimes serious in nature.

In October of 2014, former professional wrestler, William Albert Haynes, filed a class action lawsuit in the United Stated Court for the District of Oregon against the WWE in regards to TBI and concussions (Haynes v. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., Case 3:14-cv-01689-ST, 2014). The proposed Class was defined as:

All persons who currently or formerly wrestled for World Wide Entertainment or a predecessor company, and who reside in the United States.

Excluded from the Class are Defendant, any entity in which Defendant have a controlling interest or which has a controlling interest of Defendant, and Defendant’s legal representatives, assigns and successors. Also excluded are the judge to whom this case is assigned and any member of the judge’s immediate family (p. 33).

Haynes wrestled in the WWE for two years, from 1986 to 1988, during which time he wrestled approximately 26-27 days a month, including 97 days in a row at one point. Haynes claims that he was perpetually exhausted during this time, making him more susceptible to injury as well as injuring others. During his tenure with the WWE, Haynes claims that he sustained numerous injuries and was pressured by the WWE to continue wrestling through them, including those relating to his head. He estimates that he suffered at least 15 concussions during his entire wrestling career and many more sub-concussive blows. He claimed … (To subscribe to Concussion Litigation Reporter, visit https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

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NFL Settlement Takes a Hit as Judge Demands Changes

A federal judge has scuttled a settlement over past concussions between the National Football League and thousands of its retired players over concussions.

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody noted specifically that the payment eligibility for some players and families needed to be expanded. Specifically, she wants to see retired players, who died of the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy after she granted preliminary approval of the accord last July 7, be covered by the settlement.

In addition, she believes the settlement should be extended in some modest way to cover participants in the World League of American Football, the NFL Europe League, and the NFL Europa League.

The changes would “enhance the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy” of the settlement. She gave attorneys for the two sides until Feb. 13 to address her concerns, or explain why they are unable to.

In a statement, attorney Christopher Seeger, co-lead counsel for the former players, said:

“We are grateful to Judge Brody for her guidance and continued efforts to protect the rights of all class members. We look forward to finalizing this agreement so that retired players can begin taking advantage of its benefits.”

The NFL, meanwhile, gave its two cents:

“We intend promptly to discuss with class counsel the points addressed in the order and continue to have a high degree of confidence that this settlement — which has been accepted by more than 99 percent of retirees — will receive final approval and provide important and generous benefits to retirees and their families

 

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George Washington University to Start Concussion Law Class

The New York Times reported today that George Washington University’s law school will start what it described as “the first course devoted to the legal implications of traumatic brain injuries.”

A weekly seminar, the class will reportedly address brain injuries of all sorts, including those sustained in car accidents and in falls. “But the concussion crisis gripping the N.F.L. is what caught the law school’s attention,” according to the Times.

The class will be taught by Michael Kaplen, an experienced plaintiffs’ lawyer with expertise in the area.Michael Kaplen HEAD SHOT

“It’s a constant battle that really defaults every step of the way to the legal profession to handle on behalf of the millions of people who get injured,” Kaplen told his students last month, according to the paper. “The legal profession becomes, in one way or another, the champion because nobody else is there to do it. The lawyer has to become the doctor, has to become the social worker, has to become the neuroscientist and put that together for the individual.”

For the full story, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/sports/football/concussion-cases-inspire-new-course-at-george-washington-law-school.html?emc=edit_th_20140414&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=19301719&_r=0

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