Jim Boyle Sep. 11, 2014, 6:39am


Seven ex-professional football players raised objections to a three- judge panel at the Third

Circuit Court of Appeals over a settlement deal recently reached in the class action concussion suit against the National Football League.

The players, represented by attorney Steven Molo, have argued that the deal only covers medical expenses for retired players suffering from injuries caused by head trauma and not other medical afflictions.

The problem with Wednesday's appeal, the judge said, was that Molo filed for the hearing before the settlement has been made final. The court held that the appeal to the Third Circuit was premature and that there was still time for players to raise their objections before federal Judge Anita Brody at a Nov. 19 fairness hearing.

Molo countered that waiting for the closing of the deal would take too long, and a finalized agreement would be more difficult to appeal. He argued that the settlement should be addressed now because part of the class had not been fully represented.

Brody granted preliminary approval in July of the settlement between the NFL and the 5,000 members in the represented class of retired players that accused the league of hiding the dangerous, long-term consequences of head injuries.

Once Brody makes her final approval, hundreds of millions of dollars will become available to cover medical expenses for the next 65 years for retired NFL football players suffering from long-term consequences of concussions sustained while on the field.

The agreement creates a settlement class with more than 20,000 members consisting of three kinds of claimants, including all retired players for the NFL, representatives of any retired players that are either deceased or incapacitated, and close family members or other claimants that can properly prove their right to sue by virtue of their relationship with a retired player.

The settlement also defines the qualifying diagnoses that will grant the claimants access to funding for medical expenses, including dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS or death from brain trauma.

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