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NFL's Attempt to Avoid Concussion Lawsuits Unsuccessful

By: Ira Sherman

The National Football League (NFL) has faced a lot of criticism over what it knew about the risks of permanent brain injury players faced as a result of repeated concussions. When players filed a suit the NFL recently argued that the case could not be brought in court. Fortunately, the court rejected that argument.

According to a recent article published by NBC Sports, the NFL argued that labor agreements required players to pursue claims in arbitration. Arbitration is a form of resolving disputes outside of court. Because decisions are made by one person, often a retired judge or lawyer, and not a jury. In other words the NFL wanted arbitration to avoid the case being heard by members of a jury comprised of people from the community.

NFL Concussion Lawsuit

In a case brought by former players of the St. Louis Cardinals – now the Arizona Cardinals – the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri decided that players did not have use arbitration and that their lawsuit could proceed in Missouri state court. The ruling may have a big impact for several reasons:

  • It means that the discovery process will move forward, which could reveal more evidence about what the NFL knew about concussion risks, as well as when it knew this information.
  • It could prompt other former NFL players to file claims now that they have reason to believe their case will be heard before a jury.

At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, our personal injury lawyers view the recent ruling in Missouri to be a victory for the many players and families affected by traumatic brain injuries. Having represented injured football players of all levels and many brain injury victims, we are hopeful that these injured athletes will receive the compensation they deserve.