Published On: Mon, Sep 26th, 2016

NFL Players’ $1 Billion Concussion Settlement Put on Hold by Appeal

A proposed $1 billion settlement to the NFL players’ concussion lawsuit is headed to the Supreme Court to answer questions about distribution of the settlement posed by one former player’s family.

The family of former fullback Carlton Gilchrist asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on why the amount of money awarded to participants in the claim varies according to the type of concussion-related illness suffered.

Gilchrist’s family also questions whether the judge trying the case should have approved the settlement without the NFL providing any evidence.

Super Bowl power outage football game

Carlton Chester “Cookie” Gilchrist died in 2011 from cancer at age 75, according to The New York Times. He was found to also have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have had a severe blow or repeated blows to the head. Gilchrist’s CTE caused him to have emotional and psychological difficulties, according to the Legal Scoops website.

Gilchrest’s family is the only plaintiff to reject the NFL lawsuit settlement, which affects over 21,000 retired football players.

The appeal, filed by Gilchrest’s son, is expected to delay payments for months. The Supreme Court would have to agree to hear the case and then schedule the hearing.

NFL Players’ Concussions Lawsuit Began in 2011

The settlement agreement, reached in 2013, awards up to $5 million for players with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), $4 million for past CTE deaths and $3.5 million for advanced Alzheimer’s disease, according to ESPN. The average payouts would be closer to $190,000.

Players’ lawyers who support the settlement insist their clients who filed NFL concussion claims need financial and medical help now, ESPN says.

The original lawsuit against the NFL regarding concussion-related CTE and death was filed by 75 players in July 2011 in Los Angles (CA) Superior Court. Multiple additional lawsuits by NFL players and their families were consolidated into a class action suit, on which the settlement is based.

The lawsuits allege that the NFL hid information linking concussions and CTE. Former players said the league should be held accountable for their actions and failure to protect players from life-altering brain injuries.

Research has shown that repeated blows to the heat can cause chronic brain injuries and lead to cognitive defects, dementia, mental illness, memory loss, Parkinson’s syndrome and a variety of other conditions.

The proposed settlement awards monetary damages to former players as well as family members based on their medical diagnoses. It would also require the NFL to pay damages for valid claims over the next 65 years.

Until the settlement is approved, players who have retired from the NFL, American Football League, World League of American Football, NFL Europe League, and NFL Europa League are members of the class action and can join the lawsuit. Authorized representatives of deceased or legally incapacitated retired players, as well as such claimants as spouses, parents, or dependent children of retired players are also included in the class.

The settlement does not apply to current NFL players.

Guest Author: Jacob Maslow

Photo by Pete Souza/White House

Photo by Pete Souza/White House

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