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. . 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 »
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! .
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! .
Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi recently joined the NFL Films lawsuit and earlier today, Mike Ciresi filed a 23-page response and objections to the NFL’s proposed Settlement Agreement. We uploaded copies of today’s court filing 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): .
. And we also received an overview from Ron Mix and how he currently views the proposed settlement. We wanted to put it all out there so all of you can now comment and voice your opinions on this litigation for the first time. Please post your comments in the Comments box below so we can have an open dialog about this. .
Here we go again. Another great take-it-or-leave-it settlement offer from the NFL. Let’s see now. The League has been selling all kinds of film footage of the players for years at incredible profit margins while never paying the retired players anything for the rights. Now that they’ve been busted, they want to settle the deal by offering a token amount that’s only going into funds that will cover things like long-term insurance which should have been provided to the older players as part of their retirement package in the first place. No money for retirees but lots for the owners. And then they want to make the cost of appeal and opting out of the class fall on the shoulders of all retired players. And the hearing is set for arguments later this week after they just filed the Settlement proposal. Is that how you readers also see this 164-page deal? No one gets to read the deal until it gets put in front of the court for arguments and acceptance? Still looks like lipstick on a pig. And, of course, the lawyers get paid up front… . We uploaded copies court documents (and the NFL’s press release) from Monday’s Dryer vs NFL/NFL Films filings 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): . We’ll start with the press release: .
First of all, best of luck to Deion Sanders, who is such a brilliant genius that he doesn’t expect any cognitive problems in his future. Good luck with the child support, hope you don’t tell your next wife about the divorce in a text message – all the best in your stellar career and perfect NFL life. .
Deion Sanders doubts NFL’s concussion problem, says former players are looking for payday
. The NFL released its Official Sideline Concussion Assessment Test last year. After looking at this test, how many of you retired players out there might realize that you probably went off the charts with some of those hits you sustained years ago? . We uploaded a copy of this Concussion Assessment 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): .
Lots of news this week on concussions, disability and everything in between. Let’s start off with more about the debate on the future of football. (We wonder if many of these current players trash talking the long-term effects of concussions today may be the first guys in line looking for help when it’s their turn.) Here’s a video clip from ESPN: .
. The late Junior Seau’s family has filed suit against not only the NFL and Riddell but have also included NFL Films for their glorifying and perpetuating the greatest hits in games over the years.(Read that story by clicking HERE.) . Oral arguments on the consolidated concussion lawsuits are scheduled to begin in front of Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia on April 9th. (Click HERE for the short announcement on ESPN.) . And the NFLPA wasn’t about to be outdone by the NFL in the PR run up to the Super Bowl. Last year, the NFL made a $30 million grant to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) to study brain concussions in NFL players – specifically starting with Junior Seau. Earlier this month, they ended up with confirmation that – yes indeed – Junior had CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) instantly resulting in a lawsuit filed on behalf of his family against the League. Then earlier this week, the NFLPA disclosed in their tax returns that they LOST $36 million last year as a result of that lockout before the new CBA was finally signed (as covered by Daniel Kaplan‘s coverage in Sporting News - click HERE). Never mind that $36 million loss though. For their Pre-Super Bowl PR, the NFLPA just announced they’re funding a $100 million study with Harvard University: . .
NFL players, Harvard team for $100 million health study
Now this is a what a safety warning should look like. Larry Kaminski just received this letter and study summary from the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety*, the federal research agency that works with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the Dept. of Health and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). BTW – OSHA is is the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of worker safety and health legislation. This new information is a warning about the long-term effects from brain injuries that they have observed in a disproportionately higher number of football players when compared to the general population. Dementia, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) and Alzheimers are cited in their study. With concussion lawsuits literally taking over much of the media coverage on football even with the run up to Super Bowl, we wonder how many more studies and how much more money the NFL is going to keep throwing at this? (Be sure to fill in their survey and mail it in after you’ve finished reading their summary.) . Once again, we’ve uploaded a copy of this NIOSH packet 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): .
We just received a copy of the NFL Neuro-Cognitive Benefit application form. Attorney John Hogan had discussed some of the issues and problems with this plan at our 2012 Independent Football Players Conference last April (we’ve attached his video to the bottom of this post). John’s early observations on the new Plan and programs are in the first half of his discussion. . NOTE: Be sure to look at Pages 2, 4 and 5 in this application. Here’s a clip from Page 2(click to enlarge for easier viewing): . . You can read our earlier post that includes an outline of the new Planby clickingHERE.
And a fresh observation from disability attorney John Hogan: . I now have an additional comment or two: If you seek the counsel of an attorney regarding this and he or she thinks you fully understand it, and they recommend you sign it, please send me their name and address so I might look into a legal malpractice claim! Assuming a guy might be eligible for this benefit, I would want the medical opinion of a Board-certified mental health professional indicating that the guy understands it! If you don’t seek the opinion of an attorney, and sign it, and qualify for the benefit because you have a significant cognitive impairment, I would think you could later assert that you did not have the required mental capacity to knowingly and intelligently waiving your right to sue for other benefits. . Also, will the examination they send you to evaluate whether they think you understand the waiver of rights? (Another possible malpractice action – or even a crime: A doctor giving legal advice or a lawyer giving medical advice?) This is all rather incredible to me. . We uploaded a copy of this Application 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): .continue reading »
After a few e-mail exchanges, Larry Lamade at Akin Gump graciously provided me with a bound copy of the latest Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan that was released in April 2012. . He also sent me a cover letter with attachments that outline a proposed amendment and a new Neuro-Cognitive Disability Benefit that are in the process of being added to the Plan. We’ll be adding comments and observations shortly. If any of our readers find some interesting points, please feel free to share them in the Comments section below. . We uploaded copies of the proposed changes and a full copy of the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan 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): .
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 .