Concussion Collision

2 October 2013

1959 Three Stooges
.
So the end of September has come and gone. No sign of any details on that incredible once-in-a-lifetime $765 million proposed settlement offer to retired players for concussion damages that was supposed to have been available by the end of September. More retired players have died in the meantime. But no worries: Maybe they’re waiting to watch the documentary and read the book. Next week on October 8th, PBS will air their entire two-hour documentary League of Denial on Frontline and the accompanying book from Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru will also be available online at Amazon: League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth

.
As with most lawsuits where there’s lots of money involved, a lot of coattail riding has gone on with the NFL concussion lawsuits and some have questioned why we’ve been so adamant in recommending Jason Luckasevic and his firm Goldberg Persky White (and his partners Girardi Keese and Russomanno & Borrello) to represent you. Jason was the original attorney who spent years of personal time in researching and pulling together all the details and partners necessary to finally file a solid lawsuit on behalf of his first clients. And if anyone tells you otherwise, you’ll be able to read four chapters in the Fainaru Brothers’ book dedicated to the behind-the-scenes stories leading up to the filing of those first lawsuits.
.
.
.
You can also read the full accompanying article on ESPN – click HERE.
.

Patrick Hruby: Don’t Settle

18 September 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of the more insightful pieces on the proposed settlement offer from NFL to the retired players’ concussion lawsuits. Re-posted from Sports on Earth with permission from Patrick Hruby.
.
SportsonEarthlogojpg
.
Don’t Settle
.
Settle for Less
.
Eleanor Perfetto watched her husband shrivel, and she watched him die. Near the end, Ralph Wenzel was a husk: a once strapping and energetic 225-pound former National Football League lineman, down to 145 pounds, eating mashed-up doughnuts, unable to walk or bathe himself, his mind unraveled by dementia. He was posthumously diagnosed with both Alzheimers and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the latter neurodegenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head; a scientist who examined his 69-year-old brain said it had shrunk to the approximate size of an infant’s. Wenzel’s dissolution was slow. Horrific. So Perfetto understands. Understands the pain. Understands the relief over the proposed $765 million settlement of the NFL concussion lawsuits, the eagerness to assist the former players in the most dire need — and their families, too — while calling off a long, draining legal fight.
.
Still, Perfetto can’t help but feel torn. Torn that the league is just walking away, cash left on the nightstand. Admitting nothing.
.
“This is a positive step, good for the players and families that need help now,” says Perfetto, a senior director at Pfizer and one of the over 4,600 former players and their family members who have sued the NFL. “But I’m very disappointed that the league gets to continue to deny the relationship between head injury and the illnesses that we see. They’re not taking on any culpability. And we will never know the timeline of just how long they have known this and the extent of them blocking it as much as they could. That will be kept secret unless some whistleblower comes forward in the future.”
.
When it comes to mixed feelings, Perfetto is hardly alone. Former All-Pro defensive back Bruce Laird worries that the settlement won’t be large enough to cover the brain trauma-related medical needs of all current and future players. Retired linebacker Scott Fujita believes that full NFL disclosure – what, exactly, did the league’s executives and denialist doctors know, and when did they first know it? – is a public health matter. Retired lineman Kevin Mawae likens the pending deal totaking it 99 yards, but not getting that last yard” and taking “a little bit of our milk money back” from a schoolyard bully while getting a “promise that he won’t touch us again.” On the other hand, all three former players — Laird is a plaintiff in the lawsuits; Mawae and Fujita are not — are pleased that peers like former NFL fullback and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis sufferer Kevin Turner will receive concrete financial assistance sooner rather than later. For that matter, so is Turner: in a recent USA Today editorial, he wrote that many of us also feared that a resolution would take years. That this agreement happened so quickly lifts an enormous burden off of our shoulders. We will get the care and security we need now, without being forced to wait for years of litigation to work its course. Indeed, NFL executives, plaintiff’s lawyers and mediator Layn Phillips all have framed the pending settlement as a choice between competing goals: plaintiffs can push for more money and evidence of league wrongdoing via a bruising court battle that could last years, or they can help men like Turner as quickly as possible. They cannot do both.
.
Or can they?
.
To borrow Mawae’s metaphor, the concussion plaintiffs don’t have to take a knee at the goal line. Nor do they have to abandon their brothers in need. They can help men such as Turner and continue to fight. They don’t need to take a crummy deal. They can demand something better. They should demand something better. They have more potential resources — more potential leverage — than commonly believed.
.
Now is not the time to settle.
.
* * *
.
Start with the money. Suppose retired players had as much as $493.7 million available to them over the next eight years, earmarked for medical care and financial assistance. Would that change the settlement equation? Guess what: this money isn’t hypothetical. It’s real. Available now. Available since last year. A pot of cash hiding in plain sight, roughly equivalent to the $495 million NFL is scheduled to dole out over the first eight years of the proposed deal.
.
Pull up the league’s current collective bargaining agreement. Go to page 78. Look for Section 5: Joint Contribution Amount. You’ll find an annual fiscal carve-out from the players’ share of football revenues, starting at $55 million in 2012 and increasing at compounded rate of five percent annually through 2020. Who controls this money? Where is it going? That’s where things get interesting. And frankly, a bit curious. According to the CBA:.

  • $22 million “shall be dedicated to healthcare or other benefits, funds, or programs for retired players as determined by the NFLPA”;
  • $11 million “shall be dedicated to medical research, as agreed to by the parties”;
  • $22 million “shall be dedicated to charities as determined by the NFL, including NFL Charities and/or Youth Football or successor organizations.”

continue reading »

beat a dead horse award
.
Fellow Former Players:Larry Kaminski at Home
.
I was flabbergasted at the announcement made yesterday regarding the settlement decision on the concussion suit. I have been working on a settlement for several years in a CA Workers Comp case that only recently came to a close. I was poked, prodded, analyzed and put under a microscope. The end results were “mental impairment caused by continuous trauma to the head.” The folio of information and exams is about 8 inches thick!
.
I had already been denied NFL disability because I filed “too late” and was “too old” to qualify (!), plus their evaluation group said ‘NOT QUALIFIED.’ They basically said if I wasn’t happy with the decision, sue us.
. continue reading »

latest-newsThe NFL’s $765 million concussion settlement offer was announced a little over 24 hours ago and the firestorm of coverage and analysis is the talk of the media already. We won’t be privy to seeing the actual Settlement Offer until after the hearing in Philadelphia in front of Judge Brody’s court on Tuesday, Sept. 3rd. In the meantime, we’ve compiled a short collection of some of the articles that bring up a lot of observations and opinions based on the initial details released with the announcement.
.
. continue reading »

BREAKING: From the Associated Press and just released on FOX Sports:
.
FOX Sports

NFL, players reach proposed $765M settlement of concussion-related lawsuits

Published August 29, 2013
Associated Press
.
PHILADELPHIA – The NFL and more than 4,500 former players want to resolve concussion-related lawsuits with a $765 million settlement that would fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation and medical research, a federal judge said Thursday.
.
The plaintiffs include at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett. They also include Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.
. continue reading »

pepsi-naked-juiceI just filed my claim in a class action today and thought to myself, “Gee this is how a class action really works!” Naked Juice Co. (owned by Pepsi) was sued for deceptive practices in labeling all of their juice products as all natural and organic when in fact, their juices were far from natural and contained GMO ingredients, as well as artificial ingredients. I filed my claim on the site set up for information and claims - click HERE to take a look the settlement information site.
.
continue reading »

Why?

28 August 2013

We’re quickly approaching the deadline for Opting Out of the NFL Films Settlement offer deadline this Friday and we can’t help but think about all the different “Whys?” that keep coming up in our Comments Section as more and more retired players continue to Opt Out. In past posts, we’ve often compared the NFL to that creepy little neighborhood kid who used to come over to your house to play Monopoly. He never liked to lose and he always cheated and made up his own rules as he went along.
.
NFL monopoly
. continue reading »

“In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

– George Orwell

.
DecisionsAt the request of pre-1993 former NFL players, I have decided to write an opinion regarding certain matters pertaining to the settlement offer proposed in the pending lawsuit dealing with NFL Films. Based on the information provided through Dave Pear’s Blog, I have drafted the following opinion.
.
There has been a recent Settlement offer by the NFL in litigation regarding NFL Films. The terms of the offer are supposed to satisfy a class of retired players who have exerted their right to take legal action on the issue of the infringement of their names, likenesses and images. The six original named plaintiffs have rejected the settlement offer. The class of plaintiffs they represented, however, has yet to decide whether the terms of the agreement are understandable and justifiable and whether there are any hidden, unacceptable implications lurking in the language of the agreement.
. continue reading »

This new video about Elliot Pellman – Dr. YES of the NFL’s former MILD Traumatic Brain Injury Committee with his counterpart Dr. NO Ira Casson – is part of the recent disclosure that he was also Paul Tagliabue’s personal physician. This is one more important piece of evidence in the case against the NFL in the concussion lawsuits.
.

.
Read the entire article on ESPN by clicking HERE.
.

Jim_MacFarlandJim McFarland officially filed his opt out from the Dryer vs NFL Films Settlement offer with the Minnesota court today. Jim has had a very unique, inside view of things, having been one of two retired players who were invited to participate with the NFLPA (Jim was voted to the NFLPA Executive Committee in 2010) during some of the early phases of the last CBA negotiations with the NFL a couple of years ago. Jim later expressed frustration at his lack of a vote in any of the matters discussed and how many of his suggestions were ignored or dismissed with little consideration. . Jim was also with us at the early meetings at Hausfeld’s offices when he was taking part in CBA discussions with the PA. With six years playing for the Bills, Cardinals and Dolphins in the 70’s and his post-football career as a practicing attorney in Nebraska, Jim continues to bring a unique perspective on the NFL Films deal with his filing against this Settlement offer. We’ve uploaded a copy of Jim MacFarland’s opt-out to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it available for 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): .
.
[yop_poll id=”2″]
.

Nothing more we can add to this.
.

Schutt Helmet Warning Label

.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post came in from Rick Eber in answer to Jerry Sherk’s comments on our Monday Morning Chuckle post – click HERE to read first.
.
Hausfeld you're fired
Jerry,
.
I agree with your thinking. Good call.
.
Let me see if I understand correctly.
.
Bob Stein and Tom Ward work for the original Dryer plaintiffs. Like their clients, they oppose the settlement supporting the opt-out option. Because the court might approve the settlement, Bob and Tom need to submit their fees along with supporting documents or they won’t get paid for years of work. This means that Bob and Tom actually don’t want to get paid unless they are forced to do so by the courts. Fact is, Bob and Tom are willing to delay payment of their legal fees by opposing the settlement. And Hausfeld sees this as being – my word: two-faced. Makes you wonder!
.
Bob and Tom are actually working against their own financial interests by opposing the settlement. Talk about commitment. How many of us would fight to delay and actually run the risk of losing a million plus for a “fairness principle” and retired teammates?
.
If this settlement is forced upon Bob and Tom, they still deserve to be paid for their work like any other good attorney!
.
“Like any other good attorney” is an interesting notion. I ask myself, what would Hausfeld do if they were in the same situation as Bob and Tom? For example: The concussion settlement team reaches an agreement with the NFL that Hausfeld believes is unfair and inappropriate; consequently, Hausfeld opposes the settlement just like Bob and Tom. In following this example, I would certainly then expect Hausfeld to NOT submit his million-plus fees to the court just as they are criticizing Bob and Tom for doing now. Fair? Or does anyone believe the Hausfeld firm would be considered – what’s that word? – hypocritical by submitting their legal fees to the court even though they oppose the settlement… just like Bob and Tom?
.
In this example, if Hausfeld hypocritically asked the court for fees, would they “take credit” by giving the court a list of contributions they made to the settlement effort to justify their fees? I would think yes, just as Bob and Tom need to do.  Or would Hausfeld submit the request for fees to the court without any “take credit” evidence of contribution to the settlement and expect the court to approve? If the answer is yes, we have no chance in the concussion litigation!
.
The real answer is simple: Bob and Tom don’t want this deal but they deserve payment even if it’s settled against their will and they need to be properly compensated for their contribution to the case. Hausfeld would certainly do the same. This is a legal process trap for Bob and Tom that Hausfeld is manipulating in their “newsletter” thing that is more propaganda than legitimate communication, in my humble opinion. End of story. Period!
.
This attack on Bob and Tom is a Hausfeld canard that wreaks of hypocrisy and sophism!
.
What’s scary? This is the critical thinking-power of a law firm I once considered to represent me in the concussion litigation lawsuit! When asked, I would not recommend any firm that attacks an alumni brother to anyone. If they give us up this easily on the NFL Films lawsuit, I can only imagine how quickly they’ll sell us out on our concussion lawsuits!
.
Rick-EberTake care, Jerry!
.
Rick Eber
Falcons, Chargers
1968 – 1972
.
.
.
.
[yop_poll id=”2″]
.

NFL Déja Vu

30 July 2013

Einstein Quote

.
I received my latest Retirement Plan notification today that the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan was underfunded once again. All pension plans are required by federal law to inform its beneficiaries about such events or else most of us would never even know about these things going on in a $10 billion a year business. I guess that’s why they pay Roger Goodell $35 million+ a year while DeMaurice Smith managed to collect a $3 million bonus a couple of years ago for the fine job he did in negotiating the 10-year CBA.
.
And here we are being told by the NFL and their lawyer buddies that their $50 million Settlement Offer in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit is absolutely the best deal they can possibly make even though most – or none – of that money will ever reach retired players hands. They can’t even fund retirement players’ current pension and disability plans and now they want you to get nothing for your images and footage from your role in past games.
.
Here’s the interesting thing: I had forgotten that we also got a similar notice last year in July! In other words, our pension plan has basically been underfunded since the CBA was signed over two years ago! We’ve uploaded both notices on Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog and to make it available for downloading and printing, especially to those of you who may not even be on their mailing list. 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):
.

.

.
[yop_poll id=”2″]
.

Objections against the NFL Films Settlement offer have been arriving at the court in Minnesota. Here are a couple of recent examples.
.
Jed WeaverFormer tight end and Super Bowl champion (New England Patriots 2004) Jed Weaver’s letter to the court objecting to NFL Films settlement:
.
“The NFL has created billions of dollars in personal benefit by using players identity elements such as names, images, signatures and personal information. Players deserve to receive compensation every time these personal elements are used to promote the league, team, owners or coaches in any way just like musicians and actors are paid royalties every time their personal elements are used to benefit financially the party using their personal elements!”
.
His letter also noted that he intends to appear at the final approval hearing September 19, even though he lives in Florida and the hearing will be held in Minnesota.
.
And we found an earlier objection filed by Pete Banaszak (Oakland Raiders 1966 – 1978) which we’ve posted up to Scribd:
.

.
One more reason to vote in our poll to let everyone know how you really feel about this deal – and be sure to send in your Opt Out form immediately BEFORE THE AUGUST 30, 2013 DEADLINE so you don’t forget later! Click HERE for the Opt Out form and instructions.
.
[yop_poll id=”2″]
.

Cheaties
.
Is it just us or do these people at the NFL (and the NFLPA) always live by a completely different set of rules that only apply to them? We’ve had every dirty trick in the book thrown at us with all kinds of veiled threats and inferences of wrongdoing for expressing the opinions of the many. And in each instance, we’ve been backed up by those who know better. And we’re still here thanks to the broad support of the retired player community out there.

. continue reading »