Federal Judge puts NFL Concussion Settlement on Hold
Approximately 4,500 lawsuits involving NFL concussion victims were believed to be settled for $765 million. However, U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody was not ready to approve the settlement. Judge Brody has requested a more in-depth financial analysis from the parties.
The proposed settlement took months to negotiate, but the Judge was concerned that $765 million would not be sufficient to cover all of the qualifying NFL football players and their families. The monetary awards under the proposed settlement would vary based on the ex-player’s age and diagnosis.
While attorneys for both sides believe the settlement will ultimately be approved, it is the Court’s duty to use due diligence in determining that it is fair. Thus, evidence and testimony from economists, actuaries and medical experts must be presented to prove the adequacy of the settlement amount to meet the needs for all eligible ex-players. The term of the proposed settlement is currently to cover claims for 65 years.
How can this preliminary denial of the settlement impact the future of the class action lawsuit? It may cause some of the plaintiffs to reconsider their participation in the settlement and it certainly will take longer for the victims to receive their money. The Judge may rule that the NFL must pay more money to settle the claims and ensure that the funds will last to provide the necessary assistance to the concussion victims.
With all of the time and effort that has been invested in negotiating the settlement, many are hopeful that final approval will be granted later this year. Regardless, ensuring that the plaintiffs receive an award that is fair, reasonable and adequate is paramount.
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