Update: NFL Head Injury Class Action Lawsuit

By Pace Law | April 15, 2013


Toronto Personal Injury Lawyer Albert Conforzi: I’ve been following with interest the latest developments in the NFL head injury class action lawsuit. This piece from the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. Emphasis mine:

In the first courtroom showdown between the National Football League and retired players seeking damages over head injuries, NFL lawyers argued Tuesday that the matter should be handled out of court as part of the league’s collective-bargaining agreement.

But plaintiffs, led by lawyer David Frederick, said federal court is the appropriate venue for a case accusing the NFL of negligence and fraud, including assembling a “sham committee” in the 1990s to address the head-injury problem and knowingly hiding information from its players on the risks of brain damage from playing football—allegations that the NFL flatly denies…

The NFL, led by lawyer Paul Clement, indicated that the collective-bargaining argument is only step one in what he described as a long line of potential defences. NFL officials say player histories, such as head injuries sustained before joining the NFL, will become a focal point of the defence if the case proceeds.

This is the strategy which I figured the NFL would use. Here’s a bit from my post way back in August of last year, when the NFL case was starting to simmer. Emphasis added:

The NFL news story focuses on the insurance issues that arise in these types of cases, especially where multiple insurers are involved. Whenever there are a series of insurers exposed to a risk there will always be a protracted argument about which one of them will be on the hook when something happens. In sports where there is constant or repeated injury, the question is: when did the blow occur that actually caused the injury? The answer to that question can help define which insurer was actually on risk at the time of the incident.

This case is going to be a long and bumpy one. Stay tuned.

Albert Conforzi is a personal injury lawyer with Pace Law Firm in Toronto. His posts generally appear on Mondays.