Today a federal judge in Philadelphia will conduct a hearing on whether roughly 200 concussion lawsuits filed against the NFL on behalf of more than 4,000 former, current and deceased players should be dismissed, according to The New York Times.
The action will be heard by U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody, who will ultimately decide if the concussion litigation proceeds in court or if the suits should be thrown out of her chambers, with their claims handled as arbitration issues under collective bargaining contracts
The players are seeking damages and claim fraud, alleging that the NFL either ignored or concealed the long-term impact that repeated head injuries have on the brain. The NFL has denied any culpability.
Brody won’t have her ruling ready until at least several month, The Times reported, but will hear arguments from both sides today, April 9. The NFL will be represented by Paul Clement and the players by David Frederick.
Already two wrongful death suits stemming from the suicide of former linebacker Junior Seau have been consolidated with the concussion litigation in Philadelphia, according to the Associated Press.
Seau died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound last May at age 43. His parents and his children filed separate lawsuits in California over his death, which they allege was triggered by brain injury from repeated head blows while playing football.
Postmortem, tests on Seau’s brain tissue determined that he had been suffering from CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease whose symptoms mimic Alzheimer’s disease. Several other ex-NFL players, including Ray Easterling, were diagnosed with CTE after killing themselves.
Eastering is a lead plaintiff in the NFL cases, according to AP.