Two new concussion lawsuits filed against NFL

By Jon Campisi | Feb 7, 2012

Two new concussion lawsuits have been filed in federal court in Philadelphia against the National Football League, the recent civil actions coming on the heels of a federal judicial panel ruling that the multi-state litigation can be consolidated at the southeastern Pennsylvania venue.

Last week, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled that four lawsuits, one that had been filed in Philadelphia and the others in central California, can be consolidated at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The decision to have the consolidated lawsuits play out before a federal judge in Philadelphia came after the NFL made a motion seeking the same.

The litigation alleges that former professional football players have suffered “pathological and debilitating effects of head injuries and concussions.”

The two most recent injury suits were filed on Feb. 3 at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia.

The plaintiffs in the first case are Ashley Lelie, Jim Bundren, Jake and Katherine Grove, Joey and Kate Hollenbeck, Dave and Ann Marie Moore, Albert and Jenise Johnson, Richard and Tina Owens and Aaron Merz.

The plaintiffs list in the second suit is much longer, and consists of a number of former Philadelphia Eagles players, including Britt Hager, Keith Byars, Brian Baldinger, Douglas Skene, Mike Schad, Michael Pitts and Brad Quast.

The lawsuits, which seek declarations of liability, injunctive relief, financial compensation for long-term chronic injuries and intangible losses suffered by the plaintiffs and their respective spouses, claim that the NFL turned a blind eye to the long-lasting effects of players’ head injuries, despite the fact that it allegedly possessed evidence linking repetitive traumatic brain injury to long-term neurological problems in many sports.

“The NFL … was aware of the evidence and the risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries and concussions for decades, but deliberately ignored and actively concealed the information from the Plaintiffs and all others who participated in organized football at all levels,” the lawsuits state.

The suits also claim that rather than warning players of the potential for permanent brain injury if they returned to play too soon after sustaining a concussion, the NFL “actively deceived players, by misrepresenting to them that concussions did not present serious, life-altering risks.”

The litigation claims that the NFL’s “active and purposeful concealment and misrepresentation of the severe neurological risks of repetitive traumatic brain injury exposed players to dangers they could have avoided had the NFL provided them with truthful and accurate information.”

Many of the affected players, the litigation alleges, have suffered brain damage and latent neurodegenerative disorders and diseases as a result of the NFL’s alleged acts and omissions.

The respective lawsuits were filed by Philadelphia attorneys Gene Locks, Michael Leh and David Langfitt of the Locks Law Firm.

The second suit was co-filed by New Jersey attorney Craig R. Mitnick.

The federal case numbers are 2:12-cv-00600-AB and 2:12-cv-00601-AB.

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