The 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is going into its third year. How has it worked out for you and your families? How will some of the most recent disability rulings affect future cases? And just how did that Legacy Fund work out for each of you? John Hogan has been advocating for a total reform of the current NFL/NFLPA Disability Plan and has been successful in many of his cases representing retired NFL players in their Disability and Social Security Disability cases. In this session, John discusses some of the most recent cases and their impact on all retired players. We were hoping to have Jimmie Giles join John on stage but his health and upcoming surgeries kept him at home. John discusses some of the strange details of how the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan and its Board actually runs under the dominant hand of The Groom Law Group with absolutely no checks and balances nor oversight from a so-called Board. If you have never had to apply for disability benefits from the NFL, this discussion is an eye-opener. And if you’ve applied for benefits, most of this information will sound eerily familiar. (You can read all Panelist biographies by clickingHERE.) . 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. .
. Many of you may remember Andrew Stewart’s disability case that took nearly two years to get to court after it was first filed in 2010. They won the case resoundingly in June of this year, topped with a scathing ruling from Judge William Quarles who presided over the entire hearing. You may even recall the doctor the NFL called in to do a second opinion on Andrew’s injuries when they weren’t happy with the first doctor that they also chose. Without so much as seeing Andrew or reviewing his x-rays, he declared Andrew’s injuries to be totally unrelated to football. Then in the last paragraph, he reminds the Plan to send him another $500 check for his additional “review.”(You can read all of our earlier posts covering his case by clickingHERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.) FOX Sports A.J. Perez also covered the ruling in an article from June written right after the case closed: .
. 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 -clickHEREto read. . The New Dr. No.: Andrew Stewart Part II -clickHEREto 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 -clickHEREto read. .continue reading »
EDITOR’S NOTE:Some of you may remember Andrew Stewart’s long battle to access his earned Disability Benefits from the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan. He ended up taking them to court. You can read the earlier posts by clickingHERE, HERE, HEREandHERE. All from 2010! .
Hi Dave, .
Here is an update along with some shocking comments from my court case with the NFLPA in Federal Court. .
After many years and delays, we finally reached our court date which was last Monday. My lawyer was there and the Plan sent several lawyers AND their secretaries. .
Their whole argument was not that they were right but that they are and should be afforded discretion under the law. They stated before the judge that Dr. Bach was on “Their Team” and the judge questioned whether they really wanted to say that. Even though Dr. Bach had never examined me, never treated me and didn’t even bother to see any of the X-rays of my injuries, he still decided that in his medical opinion, “It was not even close” as to whether I was disabled or not held more weight than any detailed medical evaluation that their neutral examining doctor could give. . “Not even close.” Would you trust your doctor if he chose to only write that as his evaluation to any illness or injury you personally suffered? They also stated that they basically did me a favour by putting me on the lower amount and that I should grateful. (!) .
Doug Ell, the lawyer for the Plan, stated in court that one of the reasons they couldn’t pay every player the higher amount was that the Plan has to watch its bottom line since they have to make sure there’s enough money for players such as Brett Favre. It is important to state that during testimony, it was also disclosed that the Plan currently has over a billion dollars in assets. So apparently, we’re valued differently by the NFL: Not for your vested seasons or your injuries but maybe by how many more jerseys you can sell and your commercial appeal! .
In the end, the judge decided that he wanted briefs filed by the end of March and he would then rule. .
Although the NFLPA’s lawyers felt that this judge is not what they call “a plan-friendly judge” as they have stated to my lawyer, I feel that the judge is very fair and is taking this case very seriously because there are just too many instances where they are not following their own rules as laid out by the Plan and – depending on the case – they’re prepared to change them accordingly. .
Andrew Stewart . . . ADDENDUM FROM IRV MUCHNICK MARCH 7th:
Duerson Apparently Did Not Review Andrew Stewart NFL Disability Claim
Posted with the express consent of Irv Muchnick: .
Published September 10th, 2011 .
On August 16, FoxSports.com’s Alex Marvez broke the story of a lawsuit against the National Football League’s Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Retirement Plan, in federal court in Maryland, by retired player Andrew Stewart. I discussed the case on my Concussion Blog – click HERE. .
The premise of Marvez’s piece aligned with an important investigative angle of this blog: that the Stewart suit might reveal more about the work on the disability claims review board of Dave Duerson. But it turns out that, while Stewart’s attorneys have made a lot of progress in getting scrutiny in open court of the board’s inner workings – a very good thing – Duerson himself did not participate in the deliberations of Stewart’s particular case in August of last year. .
The three NFL Players Association representatives on the board for Stewart’s review were Andre Collins, Robert Smith, and Jeff Van Note. “I do not know why Duerson was not on the Board that day,” Stewart attorney Michael Rosenthal e-mailed me. .
According to John Hogan, who represents many retired players from his disability law practice in Georgia, retirement board members occasionally designate others as proxies, and that is probably what happened here. The whole process is mysterious and secretive, which is why we need the drip-drip-drip of additional cases to break down the NFL and NFLPA’s limestone wall. (The judge in the Stewart case has set a trial date, though he has not yet ruled on whether to permit live testimony. But the court seems to be leaning that way.) .
As I’ve said many times, perhaps the most tumultuous litigation for the football-concussion system isn’t by professionals. Rather, it involves youth athletes and the financial exposure of public schools for disabling injury and wrongful death. Without tackle football mania at the grassroots, the $10-billion-a-year NFL cannot recruit, inculcate, and thrive. We already know of one lawsuit in New Jersey by the family of a kid who died from a second concussion after being cleared to return to play – with the help of NFL and World Wrestling Entertainment witch doctor Joseph Maroon’s “ImPACT concussion management” software. . Irvin Muchnick is author of CHRIS & NANCY: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death (2009) and WRESTLING BABYLON: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal (2007). He is a widely published magazine journalist and has appeared on forums as diverse as Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor,” National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” and ESPN’s “Up Close.” Muchnick is lead respondent in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case for freelance writers’ rights, Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick. . BeyondChron contributor Irvin Muchnick has launched his new website and blog “Concussion Inc.”. You can also find Irv on Twitter at http://twitter.com/irvmuch. .
Posted with the express consent of Irv Muchnick: .
Football Media, Courts Still Not Tackling Lesson of Dave Duerson Suicide
by Irvin Muchnick‚ Aug. 19‚ 2011 . Six months after Dave Duerson put a bullet through his own chest, the annual national brain trauma toll mounts again, from the National Football League all the way down to the peewees. Meanwhile, the mentally flabby sports media continue putting out the same sugar-coated message: that we should become more “aware” about concussions, and that pro football players should emulate Duerson by donating their brains for research – as if Duerson – who spent his late life denying others’ claims of concussion syndrome – personally invented Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy (CTE). . Here’s a better idea: Next month, in federal court in Maryland, there will be a pretrial hearing in a case against the NFL retirement plan by Andrew Stewart, who played linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers and two other teams from 1989 to 1993, and whose application for increased disability benefits had been rejected. Stewart’s lawyer wants the court to examine the work of Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan’s (EDITOR’S NOTE:Corrected from the original post) joint owner/players’ union Board of Trustees – which included Duerson. . Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com, who is doing as good a job as any mainstream journalist on the concussion story’s off-the-field aspects, broke the Stewart lawsuit development (ClickHERE to read his post). . continue reading »
Two more documents have just arrived on Andrew Stewart’s disability application. (Read the earlier post by clicking HERE).The first is a letter from the Groom Law Group and the second contains one of the most egregiously ridiculous pieces of bureaucratic doublespeak we’ve seen in years. The Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan’s Paul Scott sends what would appear as very clear direction (for most people anyway) to Dr. Bernard NO Bach and his response follows. We don’t think much more needs to be said. The documents really do speak for themselves and we’ve simply added a few highlights.
Andrew Stewart recently went through an application process for his NFL Total & Permanent Disability Benefits. After playing in the NFL, he went on to play for several more years in the CFL (Canadian Football League). Andrew currently lives in Vancouver BC Canada. .