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Supreme Court Won't Review NFL Concussion Settlement

Thursday, January 26, 2017By Richard Alexander

If you’ve noticed that the National Football League (NFL) seems to be placing more emphasis on concussion-related safety, it’s not your imagination. Tens of thousands of lawsuits and the film “Concussion,” starring Will Smith, have placed the NFL’s role in player brain health squarely in the spotlight. In fact, as we recently reported, the League announced a new initiative called “Play Smart, Play Safe,” committing $100 million to fund safety research relating to the sport.

Thousands of retired NFL players challenged the League’s practices relating to head injuries and concussions, alleging that the NFL knew about the connection between playing football and concussions but failed to inform them and, in fact, hid evidence from them.

The players—about 20,000 of them—and the League came to a settlement for $765 million some time ago. Their settlement applies only to living players who retired before a certain date in 2014. However, by its terms, the settlement excludes players with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the diagnosis made after death by Dr. Bennet Omalu, the physician played by Will Smith in “Concussion.”

Some of the players felt that this limitation made the settlement unfair, so they appealed the approval of the settlement to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. However, the Third Circuit sided with the League and found the settlement to be reasonable, stating “though not perfect, it is fair.”

The players then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the settlement. In December, the Court refused to hear the case. This means that the settlement will move forward based on the terms it contains. This also puts an end to challenges to the settlement other than by players who opted out of the suit near the beginning of the case.

Unfortunately, brain injuries happen all too often in sports, and they can significantly change the trajectory of life. If you or someone you know suffered a serious brain injury playing sports, please contact Alexander Law Group, LLP immediately to discuss your rights. Call 888.777.1776 right now, for a free, confidential, and personal consultation with one of our attorneys or contact us online.

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