Retired players ask appeals court to review NFL concussion settlement

A group of former NFL players are asking a federal appeals court to review a preliminary concussion settlement

Two weeks after a federal judge granted preliminary approval to the settlement of concussion litigation between the NFL and retired players, seven former players have asked the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision.

In a petition filed Monday, the players contend that the class U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody certified leaves some groups without representation.

“The class, as certified, is doomed,” the petition said.

As an example, the petition notes that a retired player diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, after death could receive up to $4 million from the settlement if they died before the date of preliminary approval. Players diagnosed with death from CTE after that date aren’t eligible for such an award, per the settlement.

The players in the petition -- Roderick Cartwright, Sean Considine, Alan Faneca, Ben Hamilton, Sean Morey, Jeff Rohrer, Robert Royal -- objected to the settlement earlier this year before preliminary approval.

Monday’s petition also maintains that the process for retired players to obtain monetary awards from the settlement is “improperly complex and exclusionary.”

The settlement faces a fairness hearing in front of Brody on Nov. 19 before it can become official. About 20,000 retired players are automatically covered by the settlement, which doesn’t cap the money the NFL will contribute to a monetary award fund, unless they opt out by Oct. 14.

“Rather than incur the substantial expense and inevitable delay of a fairness hearing and ensuing opinion, we ask that these problems be addressed now,” the petition said.

In a statement after Brody granted preliminary approval, plaintiffs’ attorneys described the agreement as an “extraordinary settlement for retired NFL players and their families.” 

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