Rose Law Group Reporter
On the day after Super Bowl 49, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody ordered sides to try to change their settlement proposal to increase eligibility for certain former players and their families, including the plan to cover neurological testing for all registered retirees.
This is the second time Brody has called for negotiators to change the settlement proposal after rejecting an earlier draft, calling for the NFL to remove a $765 million cap on the settlement.
Maximum awards of $5 million would go to players under 45 who played five or more seasons in the NFL and require extensive treatment over their lifetimes for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Payouts of up to $4 million would go to families of deceased players who were diagnosed after death with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), the degenerative brain disorder that has been linked to repeated concussions and the high-profile suicides of former players such as San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau.
Rose Law Group’s Jana Welzin, who represents numerous former NFL players in the settlement, says Judge Brody is covering herself in the event of an appeal, which is said to be likely.
“The suggestions offered by Judge Brody are purportedly intended to make the settlement more fair, however, the suggestions are so incredibly minor compared to the overarching seriously flawed structure of the settlement
A settlement might pay out as much as $1 billion over 65 years.
Under the terms of the current plan, retired players would be compensated on a sliding scale based on age, the number of seasons played, and whether post-career injuries might have contributed to their diagnoses, The Inquirer reported.
“Judge Brody continues to extend timelines for actually finalizing the settlement without providing provisions to essentially freeze players ages, which plays in the NFL’s favor,” Weltzin said. “Per the settlement, the older the players get, the lower their award will be.
“Therefore, if Judge Brody really wants this settlement to be more fair, she should, at the very least, freeze the players’ ages so that those on the cusps of dropping into a lower monetary award category will not have their award cut due to the inefficiency of the legal system,” Weltzin said.
The parties are to report back to the court on the progress of their negotiations by Feb. 13.