Deadline to opt-out of NFL concussion class action unchanged

By Jim Boyle | Oct 10, 2014

The federal judge overseeing the class action suit filed by retired football players against

the National Football League denied a motion that would have extended the deadline to opt-out of the suit.

Former players that wish to exit the class and file individual suits have until Oct. 14 to make the move. Attorneys for several players filed for the extension based on their argument that there has not been enough information disclosed about the particulars of the settlement approved by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in July.

The players and the NFL reached a settlement agreement of $675 million for long term damages caused by concussions and other head trauma when they played on the gridiron. Brody rejected the settlement in January, saying there was not enough information to show that the dollar amount would be sufficient to cover the medical expenses for the plaintiffs.

The two parties agreed to remove the settlement cap, and a new agreement was made and preliminary approved by Brody in July.

The agreement creates a settlement class with more than 20,000 members consisting of three kinds of claimants, including all retired players of 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.

A $75 million baseline assessment program will provide evaluations for the retired players to determine the existence and extent of any cognitive deficits.

The settlement establishes a $10 million fund for education programs promoting safety and injury prevention with regard to football players, including safety-related initiatives in youth football. This fund will also educate retired players regarding the NFL’s medical and disability programs.

A fairness hearing is scheduled for Nov. 19, with the possibility of granting final approval to the settlement. If they accept the deal, the players will dismiss their suits against the NFL and agree to not file any further litigation.

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