The lawyer representing the family of late NFL safety Dave Duerson hinted that he plans to appeal the terms of the NFL concussion-injury settlement reached this week.
“My guess is there will be an appeal filed, and it will be sooner rather than later,” Chicago lawyer Thomas Demetrio said.
Demetrio represents Duerson’s family and nearly a dozen other players or their families who have objected to the concussion-injury class action lawsuit.
At the center of Demetrio’s objections are concerns that the settlement does not include future rewards for retired players diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Players diagnosed after the final settlement date this week will not be eligible for compensation under the deal.
Duerson’s brain was found to have signs of CTE after he killed himself in 2011.
An attorney for the plaintiffs has warned that appeals could delay indefinitely payments to thousands of retired NFL players with neurocognitive illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons.
Sports business professor Scott Rosner from Penn’s Wharton School said given the nearly four-year litigation history of the case, any successful appeal is unlikely.
“My sense is that it’s quite a long shot to think that, given how measured, how reasoned the decision seems to be, that the appellate court is going to step in and override Judge Brody’s decision,” Rosner said.
Federal Judge Anita Brody approved an estimated $1 billion concussion injury settlement for retired NFL players in Philadelphia Wednesday.
The settlement has no dollar limit, but does set caps for payments to individual players. The maximum payment for a retired player with ALS (Lou Gehrigs Disease) is $5 million, and $3.5 million for players with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s Disease.
NFL actuaries expect nearly a third of retired pro football players to develop cognitive problems as they age.
Objectors have 30 days to file appeals.