You may recall, last year, when more than 4,000 former NFL players filed a class-action lawsuit against the league. The suit was filed on the basis that the league knew about the long-term medical risks associated with on-field head injuries, yet did nothing to inform the players during their time in the NFL, or assist afflicted players after their football careers had ended. After months of negotiating, both the league and the former players agreed to a settlement of $765 million. Now, however, the case has hit an unexpected delay that has some players worried it could take years before they see a dime.
After the negotiations last summer, the lawsuit was given to Judge Anita Brody for preliminary approval. Last Tuesday, Brody stunned those following the case by denying the preliminary motion. In her ruling, Brody stated she was unconvinced that the amount of money agreed upon would be enough to compensate all of the former players, and that she would like to see more data and analysis to prove that the funds are sufficient. Spokesman for the NFL, Greg Aiello, expressed confidence that the funds are adequate, but Brody will take the case no further until she receives additional documented proof.
The plaintiff lawyers accused of not negotiating enough money out of the NFL have held their ground, stating that their clients would be adequately covered by the amount agreed to in the settlement. If they cannot provide enough evidence to satisfy Brody, there are two options: they can go back to the mediation room and try to get the NFL to shell out more money, or they can take the case to trial—which would be costly for both sides, and could take years to reach a conclusion.