You REALLY Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

Sep 14, 2013

3 stooges footballA new copy of Hausfeld’s “The Voice” went out yesterday with a copy of Judge Magnuson’s order from the week before. We posted that order in an earlier post - click HERE to read the Judge’s full order from Sept. 6th. And once again as expected, more misinformation. Their latest newsletter tries to take Jason Luckasevic, Jason Shipp, Bob Stein and Hagens Berman to task by only stating that Judge Magnuson had ordered those parties to “dismiss their lawsuits” (until this phase is resolved). Full Translation: While the judge was not pleased with the timing of the suits, the Culp vs NFL Films and Tatum vs NFL Films lawsuits will be voluntarily dismissed by their respective attorneys “Without Prejudice.” In other words, those suits are only withdrawn temporarily and can be re-filed again at a future date. They are NOT being thrown out permanently by the courts.
So to make things even more interesting (or confusing – depending on how you look at things), a new document was filed late yesterday afternoon with the Minnesota courts by Gustafson Gluek. You know them – one of the firms that’s supposed to be representing the H-U-G-E group of pro-Settlement Plaintiffs pushing to get their ridiculously generous $50 million proposed Settlement offer crammed down the throats of all the retired players who do not want anything to do with this deal. The order has yet to be signed by Judge Magnuson. It basically asks the Judge to grant an extension to the NFL allowing them to keep their option to WITHDRAW from THEIR OWN proposed settlement through Sept. 30, 2013. (!!!) We always thought the NFL had plenty of their own high-priced lawyers to represent them. Who’s working for who at this stage of the game? Or is it becoming even more obvious at this point when the good attorneys – Jason Luckasevic, Jason Shipp and Bob Stein with Hagens Berman – representing the real interests of ALL retired players are actually getting everyone’s attention at this stage of the game? This keeps reminding us of the old Abbott & Costello Who’s-on-First routine. Or better yet, how about some Three Stooges football as played by Hausfeld, Zimmerman and Gustafson? Are they working for the class? Or just the new named plaintiffs in their current proposal? Or the NFL?
And if the NFL’s being allowed to request an extension, shouldn’t the court at least make an attempt to appear fair by also granting the retired players an equal extension period for their opportunity to Opt Out?

We’ve uploaded a copy of Gustafson’s request to Judge Magnuson on behalf of the NFL to Scribd to make it available for your reading pleasure and for easy downloading and printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close):

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4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. John Hogan
    September 15th, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    John Hogan

    Does anyone have access to the brief supporting the motion? (I only see the proposed order here.) It would be great to see why they are asking for the request. It would appear to me that if 1,000 guys have opted out – and may be pursuing their claims – that it would certainly not be worth it to go through with the settlement.

    John Hogan
    Disability Attorney
    Retired Player Advocate

  2. Rick Eber
    September 16th, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Rick Eber


    I agree with you, once again!

    I should have been listening to you more closely a few years ago.

    I Opted Out and will stay that way!

    I just received my ‘Opt Back In’ letter from the courts. Not being a lawyer but trying to use a little common sense and draw a few conclusions, I have a tactical concern.

    John, your feedback would be appreciated.

    Clearly the court wants to have as few Opt-Outs as possible which mean the court would look very closely at any Opt-Out paperwork for – lack of a better term – hanging chads.

    But unlike an election process where both political sides and a neutral person are involved in the decision, this court and its service company hired to do the processing of our opt-out paperwork would be involved in the decision, or see the opt-out documents until it’s too late.

    IMPORTANT! All players and family members who opted out that do not receive the ‘Opt Back In’ letter should draw the conclusion that it was determined by the court you opted out improperly. This means you are in the class and the settlement if approved will be your personal outcome; again, think hanging chads!

    What should opt-out players do if they don’t receive the ‘Opt Back In’ letter? I really don’t know if you should or can contact the court or your attorney or both. I don’t know what the challenge process would be in this short time period. If you have Hausfeld or Zimmerman as your attorney, you might find the discovery of your status interesting.

    I honestly believe this could be an issue based on the process structure, motivation and judge’s decisions to date. You might also ask yourself if any of the settlement attorneys have business relations with the service company!

    What are the rights of players who have proof of delivery their Opt-Out letter was received by the court within the proper time line but they do not receive the ‘Opt Back In’ letter?

    I received my ‘Opt Back In’ letter September 16, 2013 and I live in California. I would not wait more than a few days to inquire with the court or your attorney if you do not receive your letter. If there is a problem, I would expect a prompt response as the final settlement decision is near.

    Also, I would suspect that if a person discovers his opt-out effort was not accepted by the court this additional period of time would allow the person to correct the original opt-out mistake. Clearly intent is there and time is now available; unless the decision process is biased.

    If anyone should but does not get the letter, I would let Dave Pear know so a count can be made.

    John, is this too tactical or suspicious? I have thick skin.

    Rick Eber
    Atlanta Falcons, San Diego Chargers
    1968 – 1972

  3. John Hogan
    September 17th, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    John Hogan

    Rick (and all),

    First, a disclosure: I am not involved in the Dryer lawsuit and have no financial interest whatsoever in the outcome. Second, this is not legal advice and any of you who have attorneys in this matter should consult with them about your legal rights and options.

    That said, I am commenting as an interested observer who happens to be an attorney and an advocate for retired players’ rights:

    If you haven’t already read it, please read the information on Fred has succinctly and eloquently set forth the reasons he, and others, are against the proposed settlement.

    It seems rather unfair to me that you do not have to do anything to be included in the settlement but have to specifically opt out. In situations like this, most people don’t bother to do anything and thus their apathy is treated as a response in favor of a settlement. It appears to me that the Court may have been amazed that 1,000 guys chose to opt out. That number is huge and I believe would tend to show that there is strong support for rejection of the settlement. It also appears that someone (?) has suggested to the Court that the filing of the two other (now dismissed) suits were confusing to guys and thus they should be given an opportunity to opt back in. (What do we do with guys who have severe cognitive problems? Do they have the proper mental capacity to make a decision? Will the Court next order competency hearings to make sure that everyone who has opted out knows what they are doing?!!)

    Again, look to your own attorneys for advice; but it appears to me that by accepting the Dryer settlement, you are giving up significant legal rights in exchange for no-one-knows-what! Also, with all due respect to the Court, Judge Magnuson just doesn’t seem to understand the retired players I have come to love and respect: You would rather give it your all and go down fighting and lose before you would accept another “illusory benefit” from the NFL.

    John Hogan

  4. Scott Kozak
    September 17th, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    Scott Kozak

    It seems pretty obvious to me that the vast majority of retired players do not want this proposed Settlement for this case. The benefits are far too vague to be of any real benefit for the majority of us. Maybe intentions were good but this deal needs to be re-worked and in a way we can all understand. We must take care of the guys who really need it. Fortunately for me, I am not in that situation now.

    I believe the greatest benefit that could come from any real settlement would be a comprehensive healthcare package for retired players. To me, this seems to be the area of greatest need.

    Scott Kozak
    Houston Oilers
    1989 – 1993