About the revised proposed NFL concussion litigation settlement

I blogged earlier about problems facing the NFL concussion litigation proposed settlement agreement. A new proposed settlement agreement has been released. (The PDF of the agreement is here.) It cures a few of the issues earlier identified.

For instance, the new agreement eliminates the requirement that parties agree not to sue the NCAA or other football institutions for concussion-related injuries. Earlier I explained that this would help protect the NFL if future litigants tried to bring in the NFL--if future defendants alleged that the NFL was responsible for a portions of the injuries claimed to be attributable to other defendants. Instead, the NFL proposes a bar order that would prohibit future defendants from impleading the NFL for concussion-related claims--a serious limitation on third parties not present in this litigation, but one that protects the NFL interests in a similar way without directly implicating the proposed class plaintiffs. Whether that survives review is another matter.

Additionally, the NFL has agreed to ensure that the money will not run out. It has assured that it will continue to fund the awards for the next 65 years in the event the fund is depleted. (The maximum amounts any single player could receive remains the same.)

Will this please everyone? Hardly. As I noted earlier, some individual litigants may be willing to stake out on their own and try to prove a point with the league, through discovery and through attempts to seek out more money; some lawyers may want to keep a piece of the litigation for themselves rather than ceding it out to class counsel; and so on. But it certainly helps cure some of the problems from the earlier proposed settlement.