One for the Good Guys: Andrew Stewart vs The Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan

Jun 20, 2012

A lot of us have been following Andrew Stewart’s long and winding case against the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan. We first started posting a lot of the documents from Andrew’s applications for T&P football degenerative benefits back in Sept. 2010 with the last update of his hearing in March of this year at which point, he was left waiting for a decision from the judge in his hearing. Here are the background posts from 2010:
Andrew Stewart: Benefits Denied - click HERE to read.
The New Dr. No.: Andrew Stewart Part II - click HERE to read.
And here’s the story on Andrew’s hearing in March of this year:
Andrew Stewart: We ARE All Dog Food to the NFL - click HERE to read.
The last two paragraphs from the 41-page ruling from Maryland District Judge William Quarles pretty much sum it all up:
“The only adequate, well-reasoned medical opinion in the record was provided by Dr. Meek, who opined that Stewart’s disability arose out of his NFL injuries. Thus the court will enter judgment for Stewart and order the Defendants to provide him Football Degenerative T&P Benefits.
“III. Conclusion
For the reasons stated above, the Court finds that the Defendants abused their discretion under ERISA and will order the Defendants to provide Stewart Football Degenerative T&P benefits, effective as of August 1, 2008.”
We’ve uploaded the entire 41-page ruling to Scribd for viewing and to make it downloadable. You can also click the Fullscreen button in the lower right corner of the viewing screen to enlarge it for easier navigation – then just hit the ESC key to close):
Andrew Stewart Memorandum Opinion June 19 2012
EDITOR’S NOTE: Comment from John Hogan added June 21:
This is a huge victory for Andrew personally and for all disabled retired players collectively!
Because Andrew lives in Canada, the Plan arranged for him to see a doctor up there – not one of their usual “neutral” physicians. His report was as detailed and thorough as I have ever read. But when he opined that Andrew was disabled as a result of his NFL injuries, the Plan sought further information from Dr. Meek. (I have NEVER seen them ask for more information when a doctor has said that a former player is not disabled.) He thoroughly explained his decision but the Plan was still not happy so they sent the file to one of their own docs. He never examined Andrew but simply declared he was not disabled – all without any significant explanation!
Yes – the Plan was caught “abusing their discretion” – something which happens on a regular basis!

6 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Gordon Wright
    June 21st, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    OK! One Win for the Former NFL Players!

    Hey Dave – can you get Andrew Stewart to give me call or at the least the Lawyer who represented him? I need a good lawyer to file a civil suit against the Bert Bell Pension Plan and the NFL on my behalf.

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970

  2. Dave Pear
    June 21st, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Dave Pear

    Hi Andrew,

    Great Job!

    How can a quack doctor like the new NFL Dr. “NO” Bernard Bach make a medical determination on disability without even examining you? That is outrageous.

    I wonder if this quack also operates on his patients without examining them first?

    But of course, he did beg for that $500 fee for his one-page letter to Paul Scott.

    How pathetic.

    “The courts find that the Defendants abused their discretion under ERISA and will order the Defendants to provide Stewart Football Degenerative T&P benefits effective as of August 1, 2008.”

    William D. Quarles, Jr.
    United States District Judge

    Thank you, Judge Quarles!

    Dave Pear

  3. Rob Beckman
    June 22nd, 2012 at 6:40 am #


    You and your brethren are not alone in tackling entrenched bureaucracies that want the problem to go away at minimum cost:

    Seattle Times

    Army is reviewing Madigan’s reversal of PTSD diagnoses

    The Army plans to review a Madigan Army Medical Center psychiatric team that reversed the PTSD diagnoses of more than a dozen soldiers, potentially weakening their case to receive a medical retirement.

    By Hal Bernton
    Seattle Times staff reporter

    The Army is reviewing the actions of a Madigan Army Medical Center psychiatric team that reversed the diagnoses of more than a dozen soldiers previously found to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    All these soldiers have been under consideration for medical retirement, which offers considerably more financial benefits than alternative forms of discharge.

    Some have complained that doctors at the hospital, south of Tacoma on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, unfairly stripped them of the PTSD diagnoses, which would help qualify them for a medical retirement, and instead tagged them as malingerers.

    In an unusual intervention, the office of the Army Surgeon General has arranged for the soldiers to fly to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where they are scheduled to be examined by another team of Army doctors.

    Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., confirmed details of the review to The Seattle Times.

    Read of the rest of the Seattle Times article by clicking HERE.

    Rob Beckman
    Brain Injury Action

  4. George Visger
    June 24th, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    George Visger

    Great job, Andrew!!

    Go get ‘em, Gordon!!

    We need more players AND THEIR FAMILIES to step forward and tell their tales of abuse by our former employer, the NFL. Until the ex-NFL employees understand you haven’t lost your male organs by educating people on the price you paid, we’ll continue to be kicked to the curb and forgotten.

    I for one, am not going quietly. When spineless puppets like De Smith fold their cards to put more money in his pocket and the current players, rather than help fund the retired players, we will continue to be forgotten. Even though I still don’t qualify for any NFL benefits, I’m in the fight to the end.

    George Visger
    San Francisco 49ers 1980 & 1981
    Survivor of 9 NFL-Caused Emergency VP Shunt Brain Surgeries
    Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits

  5. Ron Pritchard
    June 24th, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Ron Pritchard Bengals

    Is it not refreshing when TRUTH wins? YES, it is!

    Thank you, Judge Quarles!

    Ron Pritchard
    Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals
    1969 – 1977

  6. Andrew Stewart
    June 26th, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Andrew Stewart

    Thanks, Dave, and all the guys who have followed this case.

    Like I have said a hundred times… this was a David vs Goliath fight and I am so grateful to have won. It was the right ruling. It is sad that the great men that built this league are forgotten, shoved aside, dismissed and constantly ignored.

    Well, Goliath lost last week and I hope he took notice. He is not invincible and sometimes – just sometimes – his cocky butt gets beat!

    Andrew Stewart
    Vested Retired NFL Player
    Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers
    (drafted in 1989, 1990 in Cleveland, 1991 in Cincinnati, 1993 with the 49ers)