EDITOR’S NOTE: At our recent Conference, we covered the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit and subsequent Settlement Offer from the NFL. Our first day had attorney Yakub Hazzard explaining some of the basics of your individual rights (click HERE for that video). Then on Saturday, we had Ron Mix putting up the case in favor of the proposed Settlement (click HERE) followed by attorney Michael Ciresi with a legal opinion against the deal (click HERE) and Fred Dryer as a retired player and original plaintiff on why he and his original team of plaintiffs are against the Settlement (click HERE). Insomuch as there was a gag order placed on all parties during the hearings in Minnesota Federal Court, we did our best to report on as much of the proceedings and behind-the-scenes maneuvering as possible. . We need to remind everyone once again that when the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit was first filed in 2009, its original – and primary – goal was to provide fair payment to retired players for the NFL’s past, present and future use of their publicity rights, particularly in NFL Films productions. Here’s a simple outline based on what was discussed at the IFV Conference this year: . PRESENT LAWSUIT STATUS . On April 5, 2013 the Court issued an Order for Preliminary Approval of the proposed Settlement as advocated by the NFL and some new Plaintiffs and their attorneys. Immediately, the NFL PR machine promoted it publicly as a done deal. Far from it. The actual Order directs that a Notice of the proposal be sent in May to the entire class – that’s you and all past NFL players – for consideration. If the proposed Settlement receives Final Approval from the Court in September, each NFL player who does not opt out will be legally bound by its terms. But now the real battle begins. .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. .
Dr. Bennet Omalu was the first pathologist to uncover the presence of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in the brains of retired football players. It all started when Mike Webster’s body ended up on his examination table in Pittsburgh in 2002. As assistant coroner in Pittsburgh at the time, Dr. Omalu sought permission to examine Webster’s brain. In the years following, several more retired football players bodies arrived in their morgue including Andree Waters. Since then, Dr. Omalu has become the chief coroner in San Joaquin and has continued his work on CTE and advancing the study of brain trauma in society in general and football in particular. The NFL has been trying to discredit Dr. Omalu for over 10 years. Dr. Omalu is probably on the NFL’s Top 10 Most Hated List with the NFL. You can read his biography 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 »
With all the chest-thumping going on out there, many of you may not know that my attorney, Jason Luckasevic, from Goldberg Persky & White was not only the first attorney to file a concussion lawsuit on behalf of retired NFL football players after several years of research and lobbying with his senior partners (all you need to do is check the dates on the suits that have been filed) but his litigation also included helmet manufacturer Riddell from the outset. Over the years, we’ve written about Riddell’s ongoing paid sponsorship to the NFL as “The Official Helmet of the NFL.” While their sponsorship was worth millions in revenue to the League, the illusion of helmet safety helped Riddell to dominate the helmet market in amateur sports from Pee Wee through high school and on to college football. You’ll also recall that Riddell has been in a court battle with their insurance carriers who have been quickly jumping ship in an effort to avoid the ensuing megamillion dollar settlements sure to follow a successful round of liability lawsuits. Wonder who’s going to have to pay this one?(Click HERE to read that earlier post.) . We have news from last week of an $11.5 million award out of Colorado in a suit initiated by the family of a young man brain damaged and partially paralyzed in a high school football game. Riddell was held responsible for $3.1 million of that award. . . April 14, 2013, 11:08 PM
Colo. court finds Riddell negligent in helmet suit
EDITOR’S NOTE April 16, 2013: As many of you may have noticed, the original audio we posted was cut short to around 49 minutes. We’ve just added the second portion of 23 minutes and now have the entire 1 hour-13 minute hearing in one file below. . For those of you who couldn’t make your way into a VERY crowded courtroom, we have an audio transcript of most of the arguments presented to US District Court Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia PA last Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Presenting on behalf of the Players/Plaintiffs is attorney David Frederick and presenting for the NFL is attorney Paul Clement. (Just click the PLAY arrow to start the 49-minute recording. You can also download a copy of the MP3 file for listening later simply by right-clicking ‘Download‘ under the player and saving a copy to your computer.) . It will be weeks – if not months – before Judge Brody makes a ruling on whether the lawsuits can proceed to the next stage or be dismissed. But based on what both sides presented in this key hearing and some of the judge’s remarks and questions, we think the players’ attorney hit it out of the park! . You can also read an overview of the hearing from Associated Press by clickingHERE. . Our 2013 IFV Conference Concussion Lawsuit Panel will bring everyone up to date on the latest developments in the suit and will be answering any questions our audience will have for them! You don’t want to miss it! Make your reservations today so you can get the best airfare and room rates before the discounts expire this Tuesday - 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: .
You may remember a post we featured last year in July 2011 from Alison Owens, wife of former Charger Terry Owens(clickHEREto read that post). Sadly, Terry passed away at home on October 27, 2012 at the age of 68. Terry had only recently been approved for the NFL’s 88 Plan and his wife Alison wasn’t able to find a facility that could give Terry the round-the-clock care he needed in his final years of suffering from dementia. His brain tissue was donated to Sports Legacy Institute to confirm the likelihood of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Our thoughts and prayers go out to Alison and her family. . Of course, the NFL continues to promote their great new concussion rules even as more and more stories of “undetected” concussions surface every day during the current season. And then you have players like Brady Quinn, who still “think” (for lack of a better word) that they can play through a concussion even after putting on the wrong helmet while sitting on the sidelines.
Here are the most recently finalized briefs submitted for filing this week. They were written in response to the latest series of motions made by both the NFL and Riddell in the collective concussion lawsuits filed over this past year against the NFL and Riddell. . We uploaded copies of three briefs to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it downloadable for 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). . Brief in Opposition to Riddell Motion to Dismiss LMRA 301 Preemption .continue reading »
We were truly honored to have been invited to the first private screening of Sean Pamphilon’s United States of Football this past Tuesday. The movie was well-attended with family and friends, media and many of the people who were included in this film. We would ruin the full movie experience by telling you too much about it. But we think it will certainly go a long way to further the conversation on concussions and brain injuries in our society. The cast of characters in this movie is huge: From current to retired players, along with spouses, widows and children, as well as many of the people who are all part of this growing story. We think it will make a lot of people think and hopefully take this discussion to new places. .
. I was talking to my attorney, Jason Luckasevic, over the weekend to get an update on how things have been progressing with our concussion lawsuit against the NFL and Riddell. I made a personal decision to file with Jason and his firm Goldberg, Persky & White after talking to several firms as well as doing a lot of research on the reputations of many of the firms that have now jumped on board. One of the biggest reasons for my choice is the fact that Jason and his firm (along with their partners in this suit: Girardi Keese and Russomanno & Borrello) were the original firms who filed the first concussion lawsuits back in July of 2011. . I’m having Robert attach copies of the original suit along with the second suit filed in August 2011 when I joined as a plaintiff so our readers can see the dates and the amount of detail that went into their filings. Take a look at the dates of filing that other law firms have on their suits and take some time to look over their claims; you probably won’t be too surprised to see that most of the other lawsuits were filed much later than these suits and in most cases, you will also realize that many of the later ones were simply cut-and-paste efforts with little original work or claims. And of course, many of them also fall short on substance. So yes – cribbing continues in the legal field even after college (and it’s not just the jocks who do it)! Whenever I’m asked by players who have not signed up with a law firm yet as to why I chose Jason and his firm, my simple answer is: “Why wouldn’t you want to go with the guys who actually wrote the lawsuit and can explain it best in front of a judge instead of someone who just copied someone else’s homework and might not even be able to explain it to his own mother?” And a vast majority of these other firms haven’t even included helmet manufacturer Riddell in their suits. . Anyway, during our conversation, we discussed rumors concerning the involvement of firms who were fighting for us. To set the record straight, Jason explained the depth of their involvement with this very complex litigation and I’m going to try and tell everyone about it in layman’s terms: For example, a representative from one of these three firms is involved with each of the committees including executive, legal, discovery and experts to name a few. And as I said earlier, Jason was instrumental in the thousands of hours of research and the writing of the original complaints before they were finally filed on July 19 and August 3, 2011. In fact, Jason and his firm just spent the past week writing the first draft responses to the latest motions filed by the NFL and Riddell. . Short of doctoring copies of their own official filings, you’ll see that most other firm’s filings were made well after these original suits were stamped. Like many of you, I’m just sick and tired of the flurry of ambulance-chasing wannabes who want a piece of the action by riding on the coattails of the people who actually do all the work. No doubt all of you have been receiving solicitation from other players now telling you to sign up with this firm or that firm because they said so. I’ve even gotten solicitations from my local NFLPA reps lately! Why would anyone want to sign with someone who might sell you out for the first deal that puts money in their pockets? . I strongly urge everyone to make their own informed choice and do so quickly. There may be a statute of limitation that may be closing soon (if it hasn’t already!). . EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve uploaded copies of the original suit from July 19, 2011 and the second suit from August 3, 2011 to Scribd for easy viewing and to make them downloadable for 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): . Original Concussion Suit vs NFL Riddell July 19 2011 . Second Concussion Suit vs NFL Riddell Aug 3 2011 .
As presented at our Second Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference held at the South Point Resort in Las Vegas this past April 2012: After nearly 5 years of research, Jason Luckasevic from Goldberg Persky & White filed one of the first concussion lawsuits on behalf of retired football players. To date, his firm is also one of the few to include Riddell the helmet manufacturer – “Official Helmet of the NFL” – as a responsible party. Richard Lewis from Hausfeld LLP joined Jason on the panel on Saturday morning of our Conference to present their respective firms’ decisions leading up to filing their concussion suits. Be sure to watch the entire episode so you can also hear the questions and comments from the audience at the end. . Please keep two things in mind: There are many capable and qualified attorneys representing plaintiffs in the concussion litigation. Speak to those you choose to make sure your potential claim is evaluated promptly. The other issue discussed at the Conference was a potential statute of limitation specifically related to this round of concussion lawsuits. This means you may have to sign up with a representative firm soon before the filing period expires. More on this shortly from one of the attorneys involved in this suit. .continue reading »