As we were planning our Conference over the last few weeks leading up to this past weekend, we had many discussions on the best way to present both sides of the Settlement Offer to the retired football player community so each one of you can make an informed decision. We finally decided to invite each attorney who made the final presentations in Federal Court to Judge Magnuson in Minnesota: attorney Dan Gustafson from the firm Gustafson Gluek PLLC accepted on behalf of the players whose names were listed in the Settlement Offer (you can review a copy of that offer by clicking HERE) and attorney Michael Ciresi of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi accepted on behalf of the original six plaintiffs. Of the six original plaintiffs, five of them managed to show up for the Conference. Ron Mix graciously accepted to present his reasons for accepting the offer while Fred Dryer – the original named plaintiff in Dryer vs NFL Films – joined Mike Ciresi to present their opposing position. . Unfortunately, by late Friday, we received confirmation that attorney Dan Gustafson would not be attending because of a family matter and no replacement would be sent to replace him, leaving Ron Mix to make the case for accepting the Settlement as well as answering questions from the audience. This Settlement Offer has been promoted as the best deal retired players can expect from the NFL while also declaring that only a very tiny but vocal minority of retirees were opposed to it. Quite frankly, we were surprised that those parties with their overwhelming majority didn’t manage to find one single replacement for attorney Gustafson to present their claim of a done deal. Ron Mix managed to maintain a dignified and professional approach in explaining many of the still-unanswered details of this 160+ page Settlement Offer while plaintiffs’ attorney Mike Ciresi and Fred Dryer each made their presentations of opposing what they believed to be a very one-sided and typically worthless Offer which included punitive expenses to be taken out of the Offer to fight those who would oppose it. While many in the audience vented their anger and frustration with the Offer towards Ron Mix personally, we truly believe that Ron sincerely felt that this was the best deal possible from a pragmatic point of view and as such, we need to respect Ron for being there to present his opinions in a very dignified manner. Our reasoning is that even with all their resources, no one else was sent to back Ron up was perhaps a way to damage Ron’s standing with retired players as a strong advocate for Workers Compensation rights, specifically in the State of California. Ron has successfully fought for Workers Comp benefits over many years for hundreds of professional athletes and now continues to personally carry on the battle to oppose California Bill AB 1309 which will eliminate Workers Comp claims for professional athletes in California. The League certainly benefits by eliminating these claims and damaging Ron’s standing in the retiree community would certainly be a side benefit of leaving him to defend their Settlement Offer on his own this past weekend. . We’ve decided to agree to disagree with Ron on a personal level while still holding him in high regard for his years of dedication in fighting for your Workers Compensation rights and benefits. As you will also see during this often-heated two+ hour discussion/debate, contrary to what the true minority who are attempting to paint the rest of you as a a loud minority, there didn’t seem to be anyone in the audience who supported the Settlement Agreement. Because of the length of this final discussion, we’ve decide to break it up into three separate videos beginning with Ron Mix on behalf of the group supporting the Settlement. Next, we’ll have attorney Michael Ciresi posing his legal position on why the Settlement Offer is clearly not even close to a good deal. Then last – but certainly not least – we’ll have Fred Dryer giving a very passionate point of view on why he’s personally opposed to the NFL’s final best offer, both from a retired football player’s perspective as well as from his very unique position as a Hollywood actor and producer who continues to receive royalties for his work.(Once again, you can read all Panelist biographies by clickingHERE.)
. We’re going to remind all retired players that the NFL’s standard play has always been divide-and-conquer. By putting Ron out there alone on the front line at the last minute to defend their Offer, they can accomplish two things: Continue their failing attempts to show that their Offer is supported by a so-called “majority” of retirees and is being defended by one of your own. And at the same time, they can alienate Ron with retired players so they can damage his long years of work on behalf of retired players’ Workers Compensation benefits, as well as his current efforts to stop California’s Bill AB 1309. They get to kill two birds with one stone. We hope you’ll keep all this in mind when you make your own decision in the NFL Films lawsuit and don’t hold it against Ron for his personal opinion on this single issue. The fact that even with all their resources, neither the NFL nor Hausfeld nor Zimmerman nor Gustafson managed to send a legal spokesperson to argue their case with retired players in an open forum should speak volumes and give you more to think about. . YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video. .
. EDITOR’S NOTE: We just uploaded a copy of the slide deck that Dan Gustafson sent to Ron Mix for presentation to attendees at our Conference. Ron arrived with a FedEx package of printed copies and we managed to scan it in time to put up on the screen for easier viewing and for posterity. You can view this slideshow full screen by clicking on the FullScreen icon in the lower right corner of each slide screen (press ESC to close the slideshow). . continue reading »
In the past week, we’ve been flooded with a large-scale press campaign from the long-quiet NFL Alumni about a new drug trial that has an incredible range of claims ranging from antidepressant benefits to new brain stem cell generation. The problem we noticed was that this is a completely new drug in its earliest trial stages. In other words, it’s one more untested new drug in a large new flood of drugs that come into the marketplace on an almost daily basis. With all the players still joining the flood of concussion lawsuits, we decided to consult to some experts who have a background on conducting drug trials as well as with Jason Luckasevic (from Goldberg Persky & White) for some thoughts from a legal perspective. Dr. Xavier Figueroa and Jason Luckasevic rendered some thoughts that all retired players may want to consider before participating in ANY drug trial.(You can read all biographies by clicking HERE.) . YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video. .
We kicked off the first day of our Conference with a great overview of the concussion lawsuits with two of the top attorneys in this litigation: Jason Luckasevic from Goldberg Persky White filed the first lawsuit against the NFL and was also to include Riddell in his filings. One of their two partners in the suits was Tom Girardi of Girardi & Keese (they were joined by Russomanno and Borrello, P.A.). (You can read all biographies by clicking HERE.) This was an incredible hour+ to kick off what’s shaping up to be our best Conference yet. You’ll understand the reasons why so many of the retired players have chosen to sign up with these firms to represent them. . YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video. .
With last-minute itinerary changes and arrivals, we’ve been juggling our Conference schedule to accommodate everything. And we’ve also made some minor additions to our schedule as well in order to cover some very recent events that we believe most of the retired player community will want to hear about. . Here’s a list of our Panelists with biographies: . Dr. Bennet Omalu . Dr. Omalu received his MB, BS [M.D.] degree from the University of Nigeria in 1991. He received his MPH [Masters in Public Health] degree in Epidemiology from University of Pittsburgh in 2004. He also received his MBA [Masters in Business Administration] degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008. Dr. Omalu holds four board certifications in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Forensic Pathology and Neuropathology. Dr. Omalu is also board certified in Medical Management and is a Certified Physician Executive [CPE]. .continue reading »
Wow! A lot has happened in the past week as we’ve been preparing for our upcoming Conference! We’re edging closer to the vote on AB 1309 in California which will disqualify most professional athletes from Workers Compensation claims in the state.(ClickHEREto read the actual bill that’s coming up for a vote as early as next week.) . More news is coming out about Riddell’s prior knowledge about helmet safety and real their lack of protection from concussions.(ClickHEREto read the latest piece from PBS Frontline.) . And the behind-the-scenes story is also now emerging about the fight for Junior Seau’s brain after he committed suicide.(ClickHEREto read that article also on PBS Frontline.) . Then we have the NFL Alumni pushing a wide press release about a new miracle drug that will not only be an antidepressant but also possibly heal your brain with new stem cells. Only problem is that this drug is from a relatively new company that’s only beginning early-stage trials that only require a few participants and not the thousands that the Alumni (NFL) seems to be wanting to enlist for some strange reason. Retired players will need all the information they can get if they’re to make an informed decision on whether or not to participate in this – or any drug trial – as we continue to move forward with the concussion lawsuits. . And the NFL Films lawsuit will now be moving into the notification stage to all players involved in the class. We’ll be having representatives from both sides of the Settlement Offer to present their arguments on Saturday so you can make an informed decision. . We’ll be covering each of these new topics with experts from their fields at our IFV Conference. Watch for live posts and videos during the two days of discussions. And if you can make it down to Las Vegas, we can promise this will be the most informative two days that retired football players won’t want to miss. . Watch this Blog for more details. .
THIS JUST IN: An Order Granting Preliminary Approval in the Dryer vs NFL Films suit has just been filed in the District Court of Minnesota. Note the new, l-o-n-g list of Plaintiffs in this filing. We now know that the original Plaintiffs were never consulted nor informed of discussions or negotiations. And worse still, many of the newly-listed Plaintiffs had also never even granted permission to have their names added to the Plaintiff’s list on this Preliminary Settlement! And THAT’S the difference between honest lawyers fighting for their clients in an open courtroom and dishonest lawyers looking to make a quick buck at the expense of their clients in backroom dealings. If you DON’T want to have this happen to your concussion lawsuit, you may want to consider changing law firms NOW! . Now that the gag order has finally been lifted, this will definitely be an open discussion at our upcoming 2013 IFV Conference in Las Vegas May 3 – 5. Be sure to book your flights and hotel rooms now – Click HERE! .
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, we’re announcing two more of our Concussion Lawsuit panelists. A reminder: There is NO attendance fee for retired players and their guests and approved media (and we still won’t be playing golf either!). But you have to book your travel arrangements NOW and register for your admission badges before rates go up. Links to signing up are at the end of this post. . By way of introduction, most retired players know that for decades, the NFL has not only been denying the connection between concussions and long-term brain damage but they went so far as to aggressively put up a campaign to not only discredit scientific papers by professionals like Dr. Omalu but they also funded their own phony MILD Traumatic Brain Injury Committee with co-chairs that included the infamous Ira Dr. No Casson. Then a couple of years ago, the NFL funded Sports Legacy Institute’s long-term study of CTE (after denying it) with a $1 million grant with the caveat that “But we won’t have complete studies for many years because no one can detect CTE in a live brain.” Of course, the game changer is that earlier this year, a new CAT scan technique was announced that could detect CTE in live subjects (Dr. Omalu will be addressing this at our Conference). But not to be outdone by the NFL throwing $30 million at the NIH after Junior Seau’s tragic suicide, the NFLPA announced a $100 MILLION grant for further brain studies at Harvard (all with money that could have gone to retired players, of course). With this kind of collusion, it’s small wonder that the NFL is doing another slow reverse to once again deny the link between concussions and long-term brain damage. Worse still, with all the flip-flops, the NFL is going to use a last-ditch effort in the courts to argue that this issue was covered under the current – and past – Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) and their fraud and coverups shouldn’t even be tried in a court of law in front of a judge and a jury! Yeah right – like long-term fraud and deception on your former employees are covered under a CBA! . Now it comes out that two of the people who recently did consulting work with one of the Philadelphia law firms involved with the NFL concussion litigation have also been working with the NFL. . Are any of you still convinced that the NFL has players’ best interests on their minds? (Well, maybe Deion Sanders and Herschel Walker…) .continue reading »
Concussion coverage continues to take center stage in mid-season as ESPN keeps digging deeper into the contradictory position the League continued to take on the long-term damages of brain injuries from a career in football. Mark Fainaru-Wada reports on the findings of a joint ESPN Outside the Lines and PBS Frontline investigation. Dave’s concussion lawsuit attorney Jason Luckasevic was part of a discussion panel with ESPN’s Outside the Lines this past Friday – here’s the audio: .
. And here’s an earlier OTL video from back in February 2012 with background on the growing concussion lawsuits being filed: .
. Then there’s a very recent clip from ESPN discussing the “smoking gun” that could damage the NFL’s claims of ignorance about concussions even as the Disability Board unanimously approved three disability claims based on concussion injuries suffered by players – all while denying the majority of similar claims by publicly disavowing any connection of long-term damages from concussions and brain injuries. Hall of Famer Mike Webster is the most prominent of those three approved claims with a $1.8 million settlement to his estate after giving the NFL and its Disability Plan a sound beating in the appeals process. .
. And the article from Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada at ESPN: .