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The NFL Hid Brain Injuries From Players

Posted on September 19, 2012

Have you ever wondered why football players wear helmets? The reason is because football is a risky sport that could result in serious brain injuries.

Several former professional football players are suing the NFL. There are more than 3,000 former NFL players who are suing the league for allegedly ignoring evidence of the link between concussions sustained while playing football and long-term brain injuries.

Project logo for the National Football League ...

Project logo for the National Football League wikiproject. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A master complaint combining dozens of existing lawsuits accusing the NFL of failing to provide information linking football-related head trauma to irreparable memory loss, brain damage, and other debilitating long-term health issues was filed in federal court in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The lawsuit names more than 3,000 plaintiffs, according to a legal source with direct knowledge of the situation, with approximately 2,500 players among that total, and the remainder being made up chiefly of players’ wives filing for loss of spousal support.

There were 86 lawsuits filed by more than 2,300 players in the last year, according to a league source, and a judge in Philadelphia was assigned to come up with one complaint.

The master complaint is not a class-action lawsuit, but rather is a standard part of multi-district litigation. Multidistrict litigation allows for the consolidation of lawsuits that have common factual issues, and allows for more efficient handling of pretrial issues, such as discovery requests and pre-trial motions.

The multidistrict litigation allows for separate trials and settlements for the plaintiffs in the different lawsuits, while a class-action lawsuit binds all members of the class to the result of a single trial or settlement. This would allow ex-players suffering to get different rulings or settlements than those who are asymptomatic, and give leeway for the legal system to treat each group of plaintiffs separately.

The court’s schedule provides the league with the opportunity to raise issues with the master complaint by June 19 and set August 19 as the date for the league to file a motion to dismiss the case.

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