The Wall Street Journal Wednesday did what I consider the best concise explanation and analysis of the legal issues raised by the more than 200 concussion lawsuits that have been filed by current and ex-NFL players against the league. The story, “The NFL’s Courtroom Playbook,” was written by Matthew Futterman.
The article outlines the thorny questions that will likely have to be tackled because of the suits, which have been filed on behalf of about 4,200 players, charging that the league misled players about the long-term impact of concussions on the brain.
There is a hearing in Philadelphia next month on the cases, where the NFL will ask Judge Anita Brody to dismiss the suits. The NFL not only denies the allegations made by the players, but maintains that any such claims should be addressed under collective bargaining, not in a courtroom.
There is a motion to consolidate all the lawsuits pending.
Here are some of the most fascinating points that Futterman raises in his story:
* How can it be proved that an ex-player’s dementia was due to head injuries sustained while playing, rather than merely from aging?
* Should players who have not suffered any symptoms of long-term brain damage right now be allowed to sue for future problems?
* Should punters and kickers, who are usually on the sidelines, be allowed to sue?
* If someone continues playing in the NFL now, how can he claim that potential head injury is an unforeseen risk?
* If the NFL was to lose, how should damages be awarded to the thousands of plaintiffs?
Read The Journal story. The punters and kickers make their argument for getting money from the suits. And the other issues above are addressed in detail.