BREAKING: From the Associated Press and just released on 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 »
Retired NFL player and practicing attorney Shawn Stuckey from Zelle Hoffman gave a brief overview of the current litigation against the NCAA as well as a history and update on the Eller vs NFLPA lawsuit. The NCAA suits are both interesting and important to follow as they have relevance to many of the current ongoing concussion and rights lawsuits that retired NFL players are pursuing with the NFL.(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 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
Here’s something a little lighter to start the week. . I was going through more of my old files and ran across my original signing contract with the Baltimore Colts back in 1975. My first NFL contract was for 3 years: 1975 for $30,000; 1976 for $40,000; 1977 for $50,000. They also included a $30,000 signing bonus (!) over 3 years ($20,000 upon signing in 1975 and an additional $5,000 in 1976 and in 1977). I was subsequently traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then Hugh Culverhouse traded me off to the Oakland Raiders in 1979 after I had the nerve to ask for a raise! I played for two years with a broken neck with the Raiders when we won Super Bowl XV as the wild card team against the Eagles (Raiders 27 – Eagles 10). I was released by Al Davis after that year (more like kicked to the curb!). And yes – that’s a Riddell Helmet I’m wearing in my Topps card! . Since then, my family has gone through over $600,000 of our own money for my ongoing football-related medical expenses and surgeries with absolutely no reimbursement from the NFL and its various plans (other than the equivalent of two seat cushions and a $5.00 co-pay they sent me after my first hip surgery as part of their fantastic hip replacement program- clickHEREto read about it.) . We uploaded a copy of my first NFL contract 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): . Dave Pear 1975 Baltimore Colts Contract .
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: .
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 »
This breaking story was just too good not to post and follow. As many of us already know, the NFL and its owners have taken advantage of any and every opportunity to rake in the money. Whether it’s by not paying people (from denying retired players their earned benefits to all of their Super Bowl half-time acts to perform for free) or just good old-fashioned tax evasion, they continue to exploit every single loophole to make sure not one dollar goes to anyone else. So it was no shock to see this detailed article on the recent disclosure that the NFL is… A CHARITY! An official nonprofit charity actually written into Federal Law that makes them completely exempt from Federal taxes! Are we even surprised? .continue reading »
. 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 .
Many of you readers probably remember that Riddell (the OFFICIAL Helmet of the NFL!) saw most of their insurance companies bail on them this Spring as concussion lawsuits mounted (well over 3,000 so far). This escalated into strained relations between the NFL and Riddell as the helmet manufacturer scrambles to limit their risks and liability. And now, earlier this week, Alterra America Insurance went to court in New York to have their liability limited in covering the NFL, both with defending them in court as well as in the payout should the retired players ultimately succeed in their litigation. . Everyone knows that insurance companies run on numbers and statistics so they can make money by taking calculated risks. What have they learned recently that has them bailing like rats off a sinking ship? We suspect that as the insurance companies’ litigation moves forward, there may well be a lot of information disclosed and exposed that should affirm much of what retired players have also been asserting in their lawsuits against the NFL. BTW – It’s also interesting to note that the ESPN article seems to indicate that Alterra has only been covering the NFL for the past year (?!!). Does this mean that they just came on board after other insurers jumped ship? Inquiring minds want to know! . Here’s the story on Alterra as reported on ESPN followed by a terrific summary from our friend (and hopefully new law school grad!), Paul Anderson, over atNFL Concussion Litigation: .
Posted with the express consent of Evan Weiner: THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS .
Wednesday, 9 May 2011 . BY EVAN WEINER NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM COMMENTARY . It is that time of the year when school boards have to get budgets in place for the new school calendar and the 2012-13 school year. The people who do the budgets and the people who vote on the budgets probably aren’t too worried about the 2012 high school football season but there will come a time when school districts will have to evaluate the value of fielding junior high and high school football teams. . There is evidence that football is causing major health problems for former players later on in life. Some National Football League players have been quite vocal about post-career problems, which include depression, thoughts of suicide, family problems, bankruptcy, homelessness and for some – like Dave Duerson and Junior Seau – suicide. . Following Seau’s death, a few former players went public with their post football plight on Dave Pear’s Blog. Pear has been fighting for years for the NFL to get medical benefits to pay for the injuries he says he suffered during his career. The injuries were numerous. . The comments should be noted by school boards and others with a passing interest in watching football whether it is Friday night high school contests or Monday Night Football featuring two NFL teams. . One-time Pittsburgh Steelers player Reggie Harrison, now known as Kamal Ali Salaam-El wrote, “Since we don’t have a crystal ball, we may never know what was going through Junior Seau’s mind. I have yet to entertain the thought of taking my life, but I can relate to the pain that a lot of us are going through. I take 10 methadone, 4 oxycodone and 2 ml of liquid oxycodone daily, and sometimes the pain still overtakes me. I just pray that I can hold on and lean on my fellow alumni if I feel that I can’t go on. My heart goes out to Junior and his family and I hope he has found Peace. I sure haven’t found it.” . Former Los Angeles Rams player Rick Hayes responded to the former Steelers by writing, “Kamal, I believe we played against each other in the L.A. Coliseum during our Rookie Year in 1974 Pre-Season. I, too, have been in pain today following the news of Junior Seau, and I find myself wondering about the possibility of CTE being the cause. For the last month, I have missed two Brain Scans and MRIs because of fear and pain. Several months ago, I finally detoxed from a daily dose of over 1000 mg of oxycodone via the Subuxone method. I think of suicide almost daily. There were other pills too. I feel much better now but still question the pain and sleep disturbances. . “In your note, I found the realization that these medications treat and cover our emotional traumas as much as our physical pain. And eventually, they stop working due to our Opioid Tolerance. I wish you, our fellow Former Players, and myself, a path through all this confusion. We are all one, but unfortunately the NFLPA is failing in providing us guidance and assistance. They are aware of our PAIN and ADDICTIONS. Now they are having SUICIDES thrown in their faces. When will they act truthfully and completely? The BLOOD is on the OWNERS and NFLPA’s hands.” . Janet McCoy speaking on behalf of her husband Mike, who played for Green Bay, responded with a different viewpoint: the position of a wife with a suffering husband. She said, “I received a call from my husband yesterday when he received the news of another player’s death. Since Mike is in assisted living for his dementia, all he could do was weep when I answered the phone. I knew why he was crying even before he spoke. How many tears do the players, wives and families have to shed before the NFL takes notice? I would like to suggest that the NFL have a plan payment for mental health therapy after this. Most men are not able to express themselves when this tragic diagnosis is received. Blessings to all our families.” . Former NFL players who have been broken down and left on the curb have a place to vent frustrations. The awful truth for the former players who are suffering is that the National Football league owners never let them down; their own Players Association is the culprit. The National Football League Players Association was so focused on just getting money that there were not secondary concerns about players’ safety or post career medical and insurance benefits. The owners and players collectively bargained agreements, and whether it was 1974, 1982 or 1987, the players’ negotiators — and in turn the players’ agents — wanted liberal free agency rules and money. . That was a mistake for about 97 percent of the players. The owners legally are not bound to give players extended medical benefits. That should have been a collectively bargained issue. Broken down players are living in the government safety net of Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare. . It may be those are some of the lucky players who survived the funnel and made it into the National Football League. There are probably hundreds of thousands of players from the college, high school and semi-pro ranks who have suffered severe injuries and didn’t have a players association – albeit a weak group like the NFLPA – who never got a football pension or a partial medical plan and now are depending on government assistance for life-altering injuries. . But there really isn’t much about the plight of high school players who are suffering from football injuries that is documented. . High school football remains king in certain sections of the country but what would happen if former high school players suffering from devastating injuries started suing schools? Would school boards who are either self-insured or pay a huge premium keep the games going? . That is a difficult question but that question may come an awful lot sooner than anyone thinks. The National Football League, along with a helmet manufacturer, is being sued by hundreds of former players who contend that the league didn’t look after players’ health during careers and in post-career life. The lawsuit involves just the NFL and former players at this point. . Many people play football from the youth level on up to the pros. Many of those players will never have an opportunity to sue school boards even though the life-altering injuries took place on some high school football field. . Football has always been a brutally tough sport. . It seems the issue of players’ safety was settled in 1905 after President Theodore Roosevelt pressured a few college presidents into cleaning up the game after the deaths of 18 players in college games and the maiming of others. . But did President Roosevelt and the college presidents really clean up the game or was the game “properly” sanitized, with the injuries swept under the rug? . Until 2010, players’ safety didn’t seem to have been much of a priority on any level, whether it was high school, college or the National Football League. The NFL was very slow to get into the players’ safety issue, and the league finally started addressing head issues 105 years after President Roosevelt made the issue of player safety part of his presidency. . The NFL is urging all 50 states to take a very close look at head injuries suffered in high school and other football programs for children. Whether it is lip service or not, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent out 44 letters to states urging them to enforce strict surveillance of head injuries. The league is continuing to beef up head injury protocol, but that is for future generations. . The league is not taking responsibility for past injuries. . But there is now a lawsuit and even though the players have directed their complaints against the National Football League, all of football is really on trial. That includes youth level, junior high school, high school, and college football. If the NFL and a helmet manufacturer lose this case, the whole structure of football will be shaken from the NFL down to kids’ football. The NFL depends on kids’ football as a feeder system into junior high school, then high school and colleges. The NFL gets ready-made players with years of experience. That could all change because school districts may decide running a football program is too costly in terms of insurance premiums and safety. . If the school boards get rid of football, Troy Aikman’s words last February, looking at the NFL’s future, may be prophetic: “The long-term viability, to me anyway, is somewhat in question as far as what this game is going to look like 20 years from now.” .
Big-time pollen alerts across the country! Jennifer and her daughter are recovering from severe allergies this week, so we’re going ahead and posting up the PowerPoints from some of the discussions at our Second Independent Football Veterans Conference. Sorry for the delays in getting everything posted quickly – we thank everyone for their patience and understand how many of you who couldn’t attend are anxiously awaiting the videos so you can catch up on what you missed. All our best to Jennifer and her daughter for a speedy recovery! . Without a doubt, the most requested videos and Powerpoints have certainly been for our panel on concussions and the lawsuits filed against the NFL and Riddell. 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 last Saturday morning to present his firm’s decisions leading up to filing their concussion suit. . Please keep two things in mind: There are many capable and qualified attorneys representing plaintiffs in the concussion litigation. Please 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. . Feel free to call Jason or Rich directly with any questions you may have regarding your own concussion concerns – each of them has agreed to make themselves available to talk to our readers: . Jason Luckasevic • Goldberg Persky White (412) 338-9460 . Richard Lewis • Hausfeld LLP (202) 540-7200 . You can view each slideshow full screen by clicking on the FullScreen icon in the lower right corner of each slide screen (press ESC to close the slideshow).
To My Fellow Retired Players, . There are so many law firms who recently have filed concussion lawsuits since my attorneys originally filed the first two lawsuits EVER on concussions. I am glad to see that others have joined this litigation to hold the NFL accountable for hiding the long term risks of brain injury from all of us. . In my opinion, if you have cognitive problems, you should join one of these lawsuits. . The unique thing about the lawsuits being filed by my attorneys is that they ALSO sue Riddell and NFL Properties. This is something others have chosen not to do so far. I’ve also signed with Hausfeld LLP in their lawsuit against the NFLPA. . In the end, let’s hope all these attorneys will unite and work together for the many debilitated retirees and are successful for each of us in the end. And I truly hope that we will also collect from Riddell for their part on the concussion epidemic. . For more information, you’re welcome to contact my attorney, Jason Luckasevic, at (412) 338-9460 or (412) 400-6570 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org . Regards, Dave & Heidi Pear . We also received this word of caution from Jim Mitchell at Hausfeld LLP regarding the growing number of law firms and the various claims of being lead attorneys. This is advice well worth following: .
Dear Retired Players: . In order to clear up some misinformation that is currently being circulated within the retired players community about the concussion suits, please be advised that if you have signed onto a concussion suit with one firm, it is important not to sign up with a second firm. All of the personal injury concussion suits will be consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and a leadership structure for all the cases will be established by the Court. If any law firm is advising you that they are the “lead” firm in the concussion matter, please be advised that this is untrue. NO single law firm has been granted leadership of the concussion matters despite rumors to the contrary. To date, 29 different concussion suits have been filed. A leadership structure is currently being negotiated by numerous firms and will likely result in a joint leadership role for many of the firms involved. . Hausfeld continues to press ahead with its own personal injury concussion case (Boyd v. NFL) which was filed on behalf of over 100 former players. . Hausfeld will be amending its concussion complaint in the next week or so and will add any and all former players who have not yet signed onto a case. . If you have any questions or would like to know if you have previously signed onto a concussion suit, please call me at (202) 540-7148 to discuss. Hausfeld maintains a master list of ALL former players who have signed onto a concussion case, whether it is with Hausfeld or another law firm. . Thank you. Jim Mitchell Hausfeld, LLP .
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dave will be heading in to the hospital tomorrow morning (Tuesday) for his scheduled total right hip replacement. We’ll keep you posted on his progress. In the meantime, we’ve been following the growing number of new concussion and helmet lawsuits over the past couple of months from all across the country. It’s been hard keeping up with all the details and lawyers and players behind each suit. Last week, many of them were consolidated in a Federal Court in Pennsylvania under Judge Anita Brody. Dave asked one of his attorneys, Jason Luckasevic, from the firm Goldberg Persky & White, to provide an overview and summary of what has happened so far. .continue reading »
When I played football for the University of Washington Huskies and then went into the NFL first through the Baltimore Colts, on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and eventually with the Raiders, we all wore Riddell helmets. Little did I know that Riddell was an official paying sponsor of the NFL and was the supplier of choice for each of the teams for many years. This relationship made a lot of money for Riddell because kids playing Pee Wee, high school and college football were led to believe that Riddell was the best protection money could buy. And why not? All their heroes in the NFL were wearing them. .
Here’s one of my Topp Raiders cards with that older 70’s helmet – definitely not close to anything like the young players have today. (And the older guys from the 50’s and 60’s played with those leather “helmets”!) We were all coached to use our heads and helmets as part of our play and most of the older players still talk about stingers and having their bells rung several times in every game. And the League even went so far as to create their MTBI (MILD Traumatic Brain Injury) Committee headed for years by their own appointed Dr. No: Dr. Ira Casson who continued to spew their propaganda all the way up to Congress as recently as a couple of years ago. .
Our friend, George Visger, played for two years with the 49ers, ending his short career with a Super Bowl ring and 9 subsequent, life-changing brain surgeries that followed. And no disability or pension benefits because he only played for two years so he didn’t even meet the Disability Plan’s 4-year hurdle that all pre-93 players needed to qualify! Do you think his helmet was good protection? . Bowing to heavy pressure in recent years, the League has been making changes to the rules to protect its players from the effects of concussions. They also fired Dr. No and replaced him with a real expert and advocate in the field: Dr. Rich Ellenbogen. But what about all those decades of denial while continuing to misinform its employees with fake studies? And they did that while also sending a false sense of security to school and college players making it all look and sound eerily like the long era when the tobacco industry was telling the public that cigarette smoking was harmless. .
And that is why Heidi and I decided to join a lawsuit that holds the League and Riddell responsible for hiding and perpetuating the long-term damages from concussions. The suit was officially filed this week and we’ve just uploaded a full copy to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it downloadable for printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the center of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close): . Full Concussion and Helmet Lawsuit Filing Aug 3 2011 . NOTE: I’m not a lawyer and I am not here to solicit your business. But if you want more information, my contact person on this lawsuit is: .
Jason Luckasevic Goldberg, Persky & White
1030 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (412) 338-9460 – direct .