A federal judge has decided the proposed settlement between the NFL and roughly 4,500 retired players over concussion lawsuits was likely not big enough to cover the terms of the agreement. Now the NFL will potentially have to pay even more.
U.S. District Judge Anita Brody denied a preliminary motion to approve the $765 million figure, ruling that the documentation provided by both sides has failed to prove that figure is sufficient to cover the costs it promises to. “I am primarily concerned that not all Retired NFL Football Players who ultimately receive a Qualifying Diagnosis or their related claimants will be paid,” Brody writes in the court filing.
The settlement states that $765 million will be paid in increments to retired players, based on the extent of their cognitive injuries, over the next 65 years. Brody doesn't believe the $765 million will last that long. She's now demanding more proof from the NFL that the money will go as far as they say.
"Basically, the numbers don't add up," as Yahoo!'s Doug Farrar put it. Andrew Brandt, who works for ESPN and Sports Illustrated, parsed the decision even further over Twitter:
Brody is concerned about sufficiency of funds and the parties did not attach their economists' financial analysis of the numbers.— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) January 14, 2014
Brody: "Plaintiffs’ counsel “believe” that the aggregate sum is sufficient..unfortunately, no such analyses were provided to me."— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) January 14, 2014
Judge Brody: "In the absence of additional supporting evidence, I have concerns about the fairness, and adequacy of the Settlement"— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) January 14, 2014
To be clear: this does not mean there will not be a concussion settlement. Judge Brody is requesting documentation that was not provided.— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) January 14, 2014
My question: why didn't lawyers provide financial documentation about sttlment. Either (1) thought it was slam dunk or (2) don't have it.— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) January 14, 2014
Brody's decision to deny this motion does not mean a settlement won't happen in the end, only the terms need to be evaluated a little more closely. This matter will probably be resolved among the dealmakers, unless, of course, the numbers continue not to add up on the page. Then things will become very, very interesting.