The NFL’s attempt to come to a settlement with thousands of former players who have neurological issues has been proceeding in fits and starts. Two weeks ago, a federal judge, Anita B. Brody, granted preliminary approval to an agreement that would lift a $675 million cap on damages. Now a group of seven ex-players is appealing that decision, claiming that the deal is inadequate.
A lawyer for the group wrote in the appeal, “Conflicts within the class leave many class members without adequate representation. This class, as certified, is doomed.”
From a Reuters report:
The filing is unusual, partly because retired players who have joined the lawsuit were scheduled to vote on the settlement in November. The seven players – Roderick Cartwright, Sean Considine, Alan Faneca, Ben Hamilton, Sean Morey, Jeff Rohrer, and Robert Royal – say that appealing the settlement after final approval would be a costly waste of time.
One of the players’ main concerns is the disparity with which the settlement treats players who developed Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy at different times. From a report in the Los Angeles Times:
As an example, the petition notes that a retired player diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, after death could receive up to $4 million from the settlement if they died before the date of preliminary approval. Players diagnosed with death from CTE after that date aren’t eligible for such an award, per the settlement.
The appeal is the latest manifestation of a sentiment that the NFL has taken advantage of ex-players’ desperation for treatment and negotiated a deal that was far too favorable for the league. Brody is scheduled to preside over a fairness hearing on Nov. 19. The roughly 20,000 players covered by the settlement have until Oct. 14 to opt out of it and pursue individual claims.