NFL Accused of Muddling Class Action Lawsuit Settlement Payouts to Injured Players
The National Football League is deliberately slowing down the payout process and failing to properly compensate dementia claims by former players as part of its $1 billion class action concussion settlement. According to a news report in The Daily Mail, the NFL has reportedly paid out only six out of 1,713 claims made as part of the class action settlement, 1,113 of which involved instances of players suffering dementia.
The payments are being handled by BrownGreer, an independent court-appointed firm, whose founder has told the Mail that the NFL has no role in the payout process and that several “procedural issues” are to blame for the delay in the payouts. The claims were made by players who sustained severe brain damage as a result of suffering repeated concussions and head injuries during their careers that went untreated.
CTE and Dementia
Some of the players who exhibited strange or criminal behavior were later found to have suffered a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, which is a condition that can be diagnosed only after the individual’s death. The class action lawsuit was settled on Jan. 17, 2017 and was expected to cost the league around $1 billion. The claimants have filed a brief in court stating that the NFL is deliberately stalling payments to injured players and families that have lost loved ones. Some players even took their own lives.
The court filing also says some claims have been denied by the NFL. For example, former Patriots quarterback Ronnie Lippett, 57, said his Alzheimer’s claim was denied because he was told his dementia may have been caused by sleep apnea or depression. Lippett is struggling to appeal the ruling because the neuropsychologist who diagnosed him is reportedly under audit.
Is NFL Gaming the System?
Liz Nicholson, wife of former Cleveland Browns offensive linesman Gerry Sullivan, says the NFL is deliberately trying to “fudge” payments in the dementia cases, which is a bulk of the claims, precisely because they can dispute the cause of the dementia – not something they could easily do with the ALS or Parkinson’s cases.
As class action lawyers who represent the interests of injured victims, we are appalled at how these injured victims and families are being stonewalled by the NFL. It is unacceptable that the league has paid out only six claims out more than 1,000. We hope that these injured players and families that have lost loved ones get the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve. Above all, NFL should be brought to justice for looking the other way as the players who helped them rake in billions of dollars in profits, suffered in silence.