Latest on Retired Players Benefits & Pensions Lawsuit
Over the weekend, the retired players and the attorneys involved with the Eller et al vs. NFL et al class action lawsuit released a letter addressed to all retirees to outline a call for unity as well as to provide an update on the facts and actions to date.
Dear fellow retired players,
We have been asked by many of our fellow retired National Football League (“NFL”) players to provide more information about what the Eller v. NFL lawsuit is meant to accomplish and how the lawsuit will help benefit all retired NFL players. What follows is our attempt to do so.
On March 28, 2011 the national law firms of Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP and Hausfeld, LLP, filed a class action on behalf of all retired NFL players against the NFL in federal court in the District of Minnesota to bring about wholesale improvements of the NFL player retirement system.
This lawsuit came after the CBA negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA broke down, the Union decertified and the League subsequently locked the players out. The complaint seeks to do for retired players what the Reggie White class action lawsuit did for current players in the early 1990’s: create an organization and system whereby retired NFL players are able to advocate on their own behalf and therefore vastly improve the current landscape of the NFL retirement system. This class action – known as Eller et al., v. NFL – was consolidated with the class action on behalf of current players called Brady, et al vs. NFL. (Consolidated simply means that the cases are heard together and the NFL is better positioned to try and resolve both cases simultaneously – although the retired players are asking for and addressing different issues than the current players.)
Recently, the largest collective group of representatives of various organizations for retired players or who have mass online audience met in Minneapolis. The group included representatives and/or members from the NFLPA, NFL Alumni, the Retired Players Association, Fourth & Goal, Gridiron Greats, Dignity after Football and DavePear.com/Independent Football Veterans. Most of the participants agreed to present the League with united proposals for changes in key areas affecting the well-being of retired players:
- (a) pensions;
- (b) disability benefits;
- (c) medical benefits;
- (d) medical monitoring; and
- (e) vesting calculations.
On July 4, 2011, we filed a Motion seeking leave to file an amended complaint to include additional claims against the NFL and the Brady class and to also add additional plaintiffs. The plaintiffs who filed were Carl Eller, Franco Harris, Marcus Allen, Paul Krause, Lem Barney, Joe DeLamielleure, Elvin Bethea, Obafemi Ayanbadejo, and Ryan Collins (a group consisting of Hall of Famers, famous players, forgotten players, vested players, and non-vested players) joined forces and sought leave to file an amended complaint against not only against the NFL, but also the former NFLPA and the current Brady plaintiffs demanding that they be included in all future discussions involving them.
The reason this lawsuit is important to you is because for the first time YOU have the ability to not only determine what your benefits should be but you will also have the unique opportunity to run your own retirement organization. This independent organization will have the right to negotiate, advocate and control the retirement benefits that you earned while you were NFL players. Through this lawsuit, YOU finally have the ability to independently and collectively have your voices heard and your concerns adequately addressed. This is your time. However, this effort can only be successful if you unify as retired players and let the League hear your voice – that you want your own organization of retirees, run by retirees, for retirees.
A timeline describing the events leading up to the current status of the suit is attached below.
Robert Lee (publisher DavePear.com)
Shannon Jordan (on behalf of Gridiron Greats)
For more information please contact:
Michael Hausfeld, Hausfeld, LLP
Shawn Stuckey, Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP
Carl Eller, President of Retired Players Association
Dave Pear, Founder of DavePear.com
Robert Lee, Publisher of DavePear.com
Tony Davis, Fourth and Goal
Shannon Jordan, President of Gridiron Greats
Brent Boyd, Dignityafterfootball.org
Greg Koch, Dignityafterfootball.org
Here’s a slideshow uploaded on Slideshare that outlines the timeline of facts and events starting from the original lockout by the NFL, the decertification of the Union, the former NFLPA, and the subsequent class action lawsuit filed on behalf of retired players to regain control over their earned disability and pension benefits. (You can enlarge the slideshow to Full Screen for easier viewing by clicking the Enlarge button in the lower right corner of the viewing window. Hit ESC to close the window.)