NFL seeks to consolidate brain injury class action litigation in Philadelphia

By Jon Campisi | Jan 10, 2012

The National Football League (NFL) has filed papers in federal court in Philadelphia seeking to consolidate multiple lawsuits brought on by former players who claim to have suffered brain injuries relating to concussions developed during game play.

The Associated Press reported the news on Monday. A review of the court docket at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania confirms that attorneys for the ex-players are hoping to have the cases consolidated and heard in Philadelphia.

Seven former players filed the first such lawsuit in the City of Brotherly Love last summer, the AP reported. On Monday, a similar lawsuit was filed in which more than 100 former football players seek more than $5 million for what they claim are head injuries stemming from years of concussions received on the playing field.

A hearing is scheduled to take place on Jan. 26 in front of a judicial panel in Miami in which the attorneys will ask the judges to consolidate the cases before a federal judge in Philadelphia, according to the AP.

The National Football League has requested the move to avoid trying related litigation in multiple districts throughout the nation, the AP reported.

Monday’s lawsuit filed in federal court in Philadelphia includes as plaintiffs former Detroit Lions defensive back Lemuel Barney, who is 66 and resides with his wife in Michigan, former Denver Broncos tight end Thomas Beer, who is 67 and lives in New Jersey, and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Craig Curry, who is 50 and lives in Houston, TX.

The various plaintiffs in the class action claim they sustained traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases and disorders relating to the concussions they received during their respective professional football careers.

The litigation accuses the NFL of negligence and intentional misconduct in not properly responding to complaints of headaches, dizziness and dementia by former players, the AP reported.

Attorney Richard Lewis, one of the lawyer’s who filed the latest complaint, told the Associated Press in a statement that as the football league prepares for the upcoming Super Bowl, “it has forgotten about the legacy of its former players, many of whom built the league and are now suffering from the devastating consequences of on-field head injuries.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy responded to the litigation with his own statement to the Associated Press, which read: “The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to take steps to protect players and to advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions. The NFL has never misled players with respect to the risks associated with playing football. Any suggestion to the contrary has no merit.”

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