Five more plaintiffs have joined the National Football League Players’ Concussion Injury
Litigation playing out at U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, a multi-district litigation docket that has grown exponentially in the past year.
Shawn Andrews, Adrian Cooper, Ron Dayne, Gary Stills and Demetrin Veal added their names to the master complaint against the NFL that alleges the professional football league actively concealed from players information relating to the long-term risks associated with on-the-field head injuries.
The MDL is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, who recently scheduled the first oral arguments in the case for April.
The overarching claim in the litigation is that for 40 years, and up until the Aug. 2, 2011, Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players’ Association was executed, the league “continuously and fervently denied that it knew, should have known or believed there to be any relationship between NFL players suffering concussions while playing, the NFL policies concerning tackling methodology or the NFL policies about return-to-play, and long-term physical, neurological, mental and cognitive problems … that many players have experienced,” states the latest lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 1 by attorneys Larry E. Coben, Sol H. Weiss and Julie P. Thompson, of the Philadelphia firm Anapol Schwartz, which is representing many other plaintiffs in the collective action.
The defendant’s alleged denials with regard to the relationship between players’ injuries and future problems have been documented in NFL publications, medical studies sponsored by the league, testimony of NFL representatives before Congress and statements made to the media, the lawsuit says.
“The NFL has actively concealed and/or aggressively disputed any causal connection between concussions in NFL football and brain injury or illness,” the latest complaint states.
The lawsuit contains counts of fraudulent concealment, civil conspiracy and negligence.
The newest plaintiffs, like others in the MDL, seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, medical monitoring, attorney’s fees and interest.
In related news, Brody, the federal judge overseeing the litigation, set April 9 as the date where the parties will have their first oral arguments in the case.
The arguments will address the NFL’s motion to dismiss the claims, which the league contends are preempted by the players’ Collective Bargaining Agreement.
According to the website NFL Concussion Litigation, which keeps a running tally of suits as they are filed in the MDL, there were 4,080 player-plaintiffs in a total of 203 individual complaints as of Jan. 24.
Including the players’ spouses, the site reported, there are more than 5,500 plaintiffs in total.
The federal case number is 2:13-cv-00602-AB.