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Retired NFL Players Settle Concussion Litigation, but Potential Insurance Implications to Be Determined

24 September 2013

Starting in July 2011 the National Football League (NFL) and helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc. began facing a number of lawsuits from thousands of former NFL players alleging that concussions and other injuries sustained during their NFL careers resulted in brain and other neurological damage. These concussion-related suits — eventually brought by more than 4,500 retired football players — were consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In re NFL Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, E.D. Pa., No. 2:12-md-02323 (filed 1/31/12). On August 29, 2013, after nearly two months of intensive negotiations, former United States District Judge Layn Phillips, the court-appointed mediator in the consolidated suits, announced that the parties had reached a settlement agreement. Under the agreement, the NFL and NFL Properties, LLC will pay US$765 million to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired NFL football players, fund medical and safety research, and cover litigation expenses. Attorneys’ fees, to be approved by the district court, will be paid in addition to the settlement amount. The settlement agreement must be approved by United States District Judge Anita B. Brody, who is presiding over these cases.

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