Judge Anita Brody gave approval to a preliminary settlement between the NFL and more than 4,500 retired NFL players on Monday. The move brings the two parties one step closer to ending a lengthy legal fight over the NFL's financial responsibility to help cover the cost of treating the fallout from concussions among its former players.
According to the Associated Press, the deal "is designed to last at least 65 years and cover retirees who develop Lou Gehrig's disease and other neurological problems." Judge Brody rejected a previous settlement because of concerns that its cap on payouts would not allow all qualified former players to receive the care they needed for the duration specified in the settlement. The new settlement removes that cap. The New York Times has more on the details, and what happens next:
The new settlement, though, allows the N.F.L. to contest an unlimited number of requests for awards by retired players as a way to prevent fraudulent claims. Some players claim that this will narrow the number of people who might ultimately receive cash awards.
In the coming weeks, retired players will receive packets in the mail explaining the terms of the settlement. Players will be deemed to be in favor of the deal unless they opt out, which preserves their legal rights. They can also object to portions of the deal.
Both the NFL and the legal team for the former players released statements indicating that they were pleased with the current deal. NFL Senior V.P. of Legal Anastasia Danias told NBC that they were "grateful to Judge Brody for her guidance and her thoughtful analysis of the issues as reflected in the comprehensive opinion she issued today," adding that "will work with plaintiffs’ counsel" to move forward with the settlement. For their part, the plaintiffs lawyers Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss told NBC that the settlement was "extraordinary," adding "we look forward to soon finalizing this agreement."