The NFL will settle with more than 4,500 former players who accused the league of covering up the dangers of concussions -- injuries that allegedly led to serious brain injuries.
The proposed $765 million settlement still needs to be approved by federal Judge Anita B. Brody, reports The Associated Press. But once approved, the deal may serve to silence some of the criticism against the National Football League.
Breaking Down the Proposed Settlement
Judge Brody said Thursday that the retired athletes and their families had reached a settlement deal with the NFL. It includes:
- About $675 million for players and their families,
- About $75 million for medical exams, and
- Another $10 million to set up a medical research fund, reports The New York Times.
The ex-players' lawsuits over the NFL's negligence or indifference toward player concussions have been in court-ordered mediation for the past few months in an attempt to resolve the problem without resorting to trial.
The NFL concussion settlement agreement was reached through a court-appointed mediator, Layn Phillips, who -- apparently with some success -- worked to find common ground and interests between the NFL and the former athletes.
Judge to Approve or Deny Settlement
After the deal was announced, Judge Brody said in a statement that she "reserve[d] judgment on the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the settlement," reports ESPN. Lawyers for both sides must file motions for the court to approve the settlement.
A mediator's blessing of a settlement is helpful, but not legally binding. A court will typically request that each party file motions justifying their shared agreement to prevent future suits claiming the agreement was unfair.
Particularly important is both parties' belief that the agreement was reached in good faith, trusting that both the NFL and the ex-players have been honest and fair in negotiating the settlement amount.
More cynical parties may find this settlement convenient, with the NFL removing the concussion conversation from the national news as the 2013-14 season begins. But the players and their families have still made significant headway in securing compensation for their injuries.
- NFL agrees to $765 million settlement deal in concussion lawsuit (Reuters)
- NFL Concussion Plaintiffs File Master Complaint in Consolidated Lawsuit (FindLaw's Courtside)
- New NFL Concussion Lawsuit Includes 100 Ex-Players (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)
- NFL Concussions: Players Filing Class Actions (FindLaw's Injured)