Thanks to all of you for a great response to our NFL Films Poll so far! But we need everyone’s help to pass this along to all our old teammates wherever they are. We’re sure many of you may “not be located” by the mailing for your Options Instructions and that’s all the more reason we need to get this informal poll (and the information) out to as many retired players as possible. There’s a clear reason why retired players have always been kept in the dark and never allowed any kind of a vote on any issues or benefits that affect us. We need to send a clear message that the majority of retired players see this as the bad deal that it really is for all of us. . VOTE HERE:.
. We’re asking each person voting in this poll to provide their name for several reasons: While our poll already includes security measures that will disqualify duplicate votes from the same source, we’re sure that even with overwhelming votes, keeping every vote anonymous will be just one more excuse for some to question the integrity of our poll. So please add your name to your vote so the NFL and their lawyers can hear you loud and clear (NOTE: We’ll keep your name offline but it will be matched to your vote). And BTW – all visitors are blocked from voting twice. . PLEASE NOTE: This is strictly a poll to get a general idea of retired players’ opinions and not an Opt Out or Objection form. To OPT OUT or FILE OBJECTIONS to the NFL Films Settlement Offer, please refer to the 12-page overview that was recently sent to members of the Class (clickHEREto read the document and your options). .
Dave, . Here are my thoughts and decisions related to the Publicity Rights settlement proposal. . I have decided to exclude myself from the proposed settlement for the following reasons: . 1. I detest the emotional extortion or guilt built into the settlement. . 2. What will I receive in exchange? More over-branded NFL charity? Still waiting for clarity on this issue. . 3. The math bothers me. Let’s see: $50 million minus $13 million for the NFL’s exclusion legal fees minus $7 million for attorneys’ fees minus fees to Jim Brown and others minus Board operating costs, minus each charities’ expense ratio of approximately 35% = Just peanuts for retired players. .continue reading »
By now, many of you should have already received a copy of the Dryer vs NFL (Films) Settlement Order overview and options.For those of you who haven’t received it yet or who may not be on their mailing lists, we’ve uploaded a copy to 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): .
. Basically you have three options:
Do nothing and agree with this Settlement offer; you (and/or your family) will likely receive nothing and your rights will be assigned to the NFL at the end of this agreement;
Object to this Settlement offer and file your objections with the Court;
Disagree and completely Opt Out of this Settlement offer so you can pursue other legal options and not waive your rights with this agreement.
Well, it’s been over a week since we were last threatened by Dan Gustafson’s office. And the paperwork citing your options has now gone out to all those retired players that can be located. At least that’s what one would hope. At this stage – considering everything we’ve seen from those who continue to promote the NFL Films Settlement Offer as the best thing retired players can possibly expect from the NFL – we now stand more committed than ever to openly declaring our opposition to this Settlement. And we stand against it for even more reasons than before. The actions and words of those who would want to silence any who would even express any opposition or opinions speaks volumes. And while they would question the statements of those who oppose their position, these same basic questions remain unanswered by Gustafson, Hausfeld or Zimmerman: .
Can you name one retired player who will actually be receiving a direct payment as a result of this “historic” agreement? And how much he can expect to receive?
Will each retired player be giving up his identity rights forever to the NFL under this Settlement? And what – if anything – is the NFL actually giving up or paying for your rights?
How is this new licensing agency going to be any different – and better – from what the NFL Alumni was supposed to do under George Martin when they actually had access to the NFL shield and logo AND $5 million to run a licensing agency?
So here we go again. We received a 6-page letter from Dan Gustafson of Gustafson Gluek PLLC with an additional 33-page attachment from the long-winded proposed Settlement Offer in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit. Rather than attaching the selected portions that came with the letter, you can read the original 21-page Preliminary Court Approval -clickHERE – and you can look up pages 82 – 93 of the Settlement Offer on an earlier post – clickHERE. . We’ve uploaded a copy of the letter from Gustafson to Scribd for easy viewing on our Blog 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):
ADDITIONAL NOTE – ADDED MAY 29, 2013: We received a letter from attorney Dan Gustafson late yesterday and have made some editorial changes as marked in our post below along with important questions that continue to go unanswered. Read the new post with the letter from Gustafson Gluek by clicking HERE. . 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 directly involved 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 »
The original lawsuit against NFL Films was filed with Fred Dryer as the original lead plaintiff with Elvin Bethea, Jim Marshall, Joe Senser, Dan Pastorini and Ed White joining him early in the process. Bob Stein and Tom Ward were the original attorneys working with Fred Dryer. Naturally, Bob Stein and Tom Ward are excluded from any attorney fees (as are the original six plaintiffs) by the NFL group that includes Hausfeld LLP, Zimmerman & Reed and Gustafson Gluek, all for having the gall to ask for what the NFL really owes ALL NFL players: Money. . In this third part of our discussion. Fred makes a strong and passionate argument against the current Settlement Offer as presented and endorsed by the NFL and a separate group of retired players as recruited by Hausfeld and Zimmerman and the NFL. Questions were allowed during the discussion and you will hear the overwhelming objections from the audience to the NFL’s “final” Offer. And the Original Six Plaintiffs were all present or represented at our Conference (Jim Marshall’s wife managed to attend on his behalf and you can see her asking one of the questions from the audience). And as we pointed out earlier, it’s interesting that the so-called solid majority of other players and attorneys on the side of the NFL Settlement Offer could not muster one single lawyer or even one other player aside from Ron Mix to stand up for their wonderful deal. . 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. .
Attorney Michael Ciresi (Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi) is one of the attorneys representing the Original Six Plaintiffs in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit. Ciresi was the attorney who made the case against the Settlement Offer in Minnesota Federal Court while Dan Gustafson made the arguments for the Settlement Offer on behalf of a new group of added plaintiffs. In this second of three segments from our Dryer vs NFL Films discussion, you will hear Mike Ciresi give his legal arguments to retired players in the audience on why this is a one-sided offer made in bad faith.(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. .
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. .continue reading »
EDITOR’S NOTE:This is the official press release issued on behalf of the original plaintiffs regarding the Dryer vs NFL Films Settlement “Offer” sanctioned by the court on Monday. For the record, as you will read in this public announcement, NONE of these original plaintiffs were offered – nor will they accept – individual payments from this lawsuit. Nor are the original attorneys, Bob Stein and Tom Ward! For these participants, it’s an all-for-one-and-one-for-all fight on behalf of ALL retired players and their rights. We’ll be discussing your rights and ALL your options and more at our upcoming 2013 IFV Conference in Las Vegas May 3 – 5. Book your flight and hotel reservations NOW before our special discount rates go away next week -then click HERE to lock in your registration for FREE admission to the most important Conference for retired players in years! . . MINNEAPOLIS, MN — April 9, 2013 — Despite objections made by six individual plaintiffs, on April 5 the Court in the Dryer v. NFL publicity rights case granted preliminary approval of the proposed settlement. Now, all members of the class will have the opportunity to express their opinion on the proposed settlement for the Court to consider before it gives the settlement final approval. . First, to clear up any mis-impressions, the six individual plaintiffs who oppose this settlement — Fred Dryer, Elvin Bethea, Jim Marshall, Dan Pastorini, Joe Senser and Ed White — did not request direct payments for themselves. Instead, they opposed the settlement because it is unfair to the entire class and all class members — there is no assurance that even the neediest players will get one cent. The Dryer Plaintiffs will continue to oppose the settlement because they strongly believe it is unfair to the class of all retired players for many reasons, including: .
Each class member gives up ALL claims for the NFL’s unauthorized past and unlimited future use of his identity to promote the NFL.
There is no guarantee that any class member whose publicity rights will be lost will ever receive payment or benefit through the settlement. Instead, the settlement money goes to existing charities, not players. The proposed settlement does not even identify those charities.
There is no procedure for any class member to submit a claim to receive direct benefits through the settlement and there is no assurance that class members will be able to submit requests to the charities receiving settlement funds.
The settlement does not adequately fund the Licensing Agency or guarantee that it will be capable of generating any revenue. The Licensing Agency merely duplicates existing commercial licensing companies and has no access to NFL game footage.
Well, by now many of you have already taken a look at Monday’s Court Order granting preliminary approval of the settlement offer in the Dryer vs NFL Films lawsuit.(You can read the filing by clicking HERE.) . And here’s today’s plug for our upcoming Third Annual Independent Football Vets’ Conference May 3 – 5 in Las Vegas. You definitely won’t want to miss our Panel on your rights in general and the NFL Films lawsuit in particular. NO ONE – not the NFL, not the NFLPA, not your agent – has ever explained your rights to you in such detail! Participating on our Panel will be attorney Yakub Hazzard, Bob Stein, retired NFL player and the attorney who got the lawsuit started, along with Hall of Famers Elvin Bethea and Joe DeLameilleure and attorney Shawn Stuckey from Zelle Hoffman (who also played in the NFL). . Yakub Hazzard is co-chair of the Entertainment and Media Litigation Practice at L.A.-based firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P, specializing in music-related and intellectual property disputes. He represents songwriters, musicians, actors, managers, independent record and music publishing companies, apparel companies, and more. Robins, Kaplan recently joined with Bob Stein and Tom Ward to continue the fight for your rights. . Some of the retired players participating in our discussion are lead plaintiffs in the original lawsuit and you will be hearing firsthand about their mistreatment and how the settlement negotiations got diverted by a group of attorneys who neither consulted with them nor informed them of any details during the entire process leading up to this current settlement “offer.” Now that the gag order is no longer in place, ALL retired players can now talk freely about the process and the offer, as well as get informed about your rights and all the options each of you can still exercise. . If you don’t know what just happened in Monday’s Dryer vs NFL Films hearing and the subsequent approved settlement “offer,” you may want to read our other post that includes Judge Magnuson’s “disingenuous” comment about retired players -clickHERE. . With all the lawsuits piling up against the NFL right now, this is definitely one of the most important times that retired players have ever faced in their lifetime. We’ll be discussing these topics and more at our upcoming 2013 IFV Conference in Las Vegas May 3 – 5. Book your flight and hotel reservations NOW before our special discount rates go away next week -then click HERE to lock in your registration for FREE admission to the most important Conference for retired players in years! .
A few years ago, we could hear the cussing all the way from NFLPA Headquarters in Washington DC when someone explained the meaning of our Gene Marie Antoinette “Let ‘em eat cake” picture to Gene Upshaw. Well, after hearing Judge Magnuson’s comments about retired players objections to the proposed NFL Films settlement offer, we decided to post a new Marie Antoinette picture (you can see it at the bottom of this post). But first, a little background – here’s the article from the Boston Herald/Associated Press reporters who were covering the hearing in the courtroom yesterday: .
NFL retiree publicity rights settlement approved
Monday, April 8, 2013 . MINNEAPOLIS — The $50 million settlement between the NFL and a group of retired players over publicity rights was given preliminary approval Monday by a federal judge who likened some of the retirees to petulant children for complaining about the money now that it has been awarded. .continue reading »
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: This is the press announcement as released on behalf of the original plaintiffs in the Dryer vs NFL (Films) lawsuit following last Friday’s hearing in Federal Court in Fort Myers FL. Please note that the NFL’s press release last week was intentionally misleading in their implication that the Settlement was already concluded and accepted. This litigation is far from over as some would have you believe. Certain attorneys had already been counting their upfront $8 million bribe – er, payout – from the NFL. We have been informed by a lot of retired players that they’ve already fired the firm(s) who were (mis)representing them in the NFL (Films) lawsuit. And for those of you who have also not already switched to a more ethical firm to represent your best interests in your concussion lawsuit, you may wish to consider changing firms so they don’t throw you under the bus for ten pieces of silver there as well. . And now that the gag order is being officially lifted from the hearings, we will be opening a full dialog on this case and what it really means for all retired players as a group and not to any individual player in particular. This is going to be one of the important panel discussion topics at our upcoming Third Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference in Las Vegas May 3 – 5.Click HERE to read more and to sign up. .
“Original Dryer Plaintiffs” Oppose Proposed NFL Settlement in Retired Players’ Right of Publicity Lawsuit