The 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is going into its third year. How has it worked out for you and your families? How will some of the most recent disability rulings affect future cases? And just how did that Legacy Fund work out for each of you? John Hogan has been advocating for a total reform of the current NFL/NFLPA Disability Plan and has been successful in many of his cases representing retired NFL players in their Disability and Social Security Disability cases. In this session, John discusses some of the most recent cases and their impact on all retired players. We were hoping to have Jimmie Giles join John on stage but his health and upcoming surgeries kept him at home. John discusses some of the strange details of how the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan and its Board actually runs under the dominant hand of The Groom Law Group with absolutely no checks and balances nor oversight from a so-called Board. If you have never had to apply for disability benefits from the NFL, this discussion is an eye-opener. And if you’ve applied for benefits, most of this information will sound eerily familiar. (You can read all Panelist biographies by clickingHERE.) . YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video. .
. In one of the most public displays of just how far the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan and its overpaid NFL lawyers will go after a retired player during the process to access his earned disability benefits, US District Court Judge Ellen Hollander (District of Maryland) submitted her final 39-page ruling that very clearly details the many violations and fuzzy interpretations that the Plan and its lawyers have used over the years. Jimmie Giles (1977 – 1989: Oilers, Buccaneers, Lions, Eagles) had originally been awarded his Inactive Total & Permanent benefits (now called Inactive B) and the Plan and the NFL’s lawyers chose to aggressively deny his claim for Football Degenerative Total & Permanent benefits (now called Inactive A – got that?), leading to disability attorney John Hogan’s appeal on Jimmie’s behalf. The NFL’s law firm, Groom Law Group, publicly displayed some of the most egregious abuses of power and personal attacks on behalf of the Plan – all in their normal course of business-as-usual. At one point, they even tried to use the fact that Jimmie was “overweight” and it was pointed out to them that Jimmie’s teams had certainly never considered him overweight in his position as a tight end during his entire career! The Plan had been amended a few years ago to automatically accept an applicant’s Social Security designation as being Disabled, yet they continued to question and argue Jimmie’s actual “disability” going so far as to declare him still able to do “sedentary work” – as was also the case in Dave’s (and many others’) disability applications over the years. And their own Plan (the lawyers’) Questionnaire to their “neutral doctors” also continues to ask if a player was totally disabled as the Judge noted in her ruling. . It’s been a long wait for Jimmie and his family as they struggled to make ends meet during this drawn-out appeals process that dragged on through the summer after a lockout, a new CBA and everything else that went by over the past two years. But Judge Hollander appears to have taken a very thorough approach to address each of the arguments posed against Jimmie’s already well-documented case. (We uploaded a copy of this final ruling below as soon as it was available.) . One interesting observation: Jimmie Giles’ so-called Union, the NFLPA, has been nowhere to be seen at any time during Jimmie’s entire application process. No offers of assistance – legal or financial – during what has probably been the most difficult period of his life. In fact, the three alleged “retired players representatives” on the Disability Board had to have voted unanimously against Jimmie’s claim in lockstep with the three owners’ representatives in order for this case to drag out this far. Why has each member of the Board never been held accountable or sued for their ill-informed rulings? Would any AFL/CIO retiree in a REAL Union ever expect to be subjected to such an abuse of employees’ rights? . The ruling is posted on 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): . Jimmie Giles vs Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan Final Ruling .
EDITOR’S NOTE: We just received an update from disability attorney John Hogan on another of his recent disability applications on behalf of another retired football player. He also included a copy of the Disability Board’s short 3-page boilerplate ruling. .
Attached is a recent decision I received from the Bell/Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan’s Disability Initial Claims Committee (DICC) finding that a former player was entitled to Inactive Benefits. (It was filed prior to Sept. 1st, so the new CBA rules do not apply and we are seeking Football Degenerative benefits.) continue reading »
Just a quick update on two recent cases which clearly show that the NFL disability Plan (the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Retirement Plan) needs significant reform as they continue to abuse ERISA laws, due process and the retired players to whom they owe a fiduciary duty of care:
The news has been incredibly blunt in these hard times: Medicare and Social Security could be hitting the wall in 8 years. It’s going to hit everyone hard, especially the baby boomers and those who can ill afford to lose it. For many, what little assistance they might get from Medicare and SSI is all they have to fall back on. And many of us have friends and family who have already been totally wiped out financially by a medical catastrophe.
Here’s a copy of my Medicare expense summary from 8/1/06 to 12/11/08 for a Total Cost of $231,069.83. I’m scheduled to have another spine surgery in March 2009 to remove 4 screws and some other cleanup work on my spine for pain radiating down my right leg (approx. cost $75,000).
As most of you now know, Disability Attorney, John Hogan, has taken charge of preparing and submitting my re-application for my T&P Disability Benefits from the NFLPA. I can’t speak highly enough of him and after receiving the following note from my friend, Tony Davis, we’ve all decided to provide John’s contact information on a post for the benefit of any other players who may be also looking for a great disability attorney. (This is completely unsolicited and based on our collective opinion of John’s work.)