The Latest: Judge’s decision in summer led to settlement
The Latest on a tentative settlement on the NHL concussion lawsuit (all times Eastern):
An attorney representing retired players involved in the NHL’s concussion lawsuit and a sports economist say a judge’s decision earlier this year was crucial in leading to a tentative settlement announced this week.
Attorney Stuart Davidson says the decision this summer by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson to deny class-action status was a “watershed moment” in the case, which was filed in 2013. Davidson says players lost a lot of leverage from that point.
John Vrooman, a sports economics professor at Vanderbilt, says the decision to deny class-action status severely limited potential damages to the NHL owners as well as benefits for players. He called the settlement a “lopsided victory for the owners.”
One retired NHL player who was part of the concussion lawsuit against the league is calling a tentative resolution an “insulting attempt at a settlement.”
Daniel Carcillo, who played nine NHL seasons and joined the lawsuit in June, posted several messages of displeasure with the settlement on his verified Twitter account. Carcillo urged his fellow former players, “Do not accept this settlement for the concussion lawsuit,” citing in part that they’d see the same NHL/NHLPA doctors to determine eligibility for treatment.
Carcillo also tweeted asking Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky for help, saying that “lack of pressure from former players is a direct result of this insulting attempt at a settlement.”
Each player who decides to participate in the settlement of a concussion lawsuit against the NHL would receive a $22,000 payment and the potential for up to $75,000 in medical coverage.
According to the settlement document in the case, 146 retired players are eligible because they joined the lawsuit, which was first filed five years ago. The total monetary value is just over $18.9 million, which includes a “Common Good Fund” of over $2.5 million for other retired players who are not involved.
Players have 75 days to decide to opt in to the settlement. If all 146 players or their estates do not opt-in, the NHL can choose to terminate the settlement.
The NHL and attorneys for retired players have reached a tentative settlement worth roughly $19 million in the biggest lawsuit brought against the league over concussions and other head injuries.
As part of the settlement, the NHL does not acknowledge any liability for any of the players’ claims. The lawsuit, consolidated in federal court in Minnesota and by far the largest facing the league, involves more than 100 former players who accused the NHL of failing to better prevent head trauma or warn players of risks while promoting violent play that led to their injuries.
Stuart Davidson, an attorney on the players’ side, said the NHL is setting aside about $19 million for the lawsuit. That’s significantly less than the billion-dollar agreement reached between the NFL and its former players on the same issue.
Attorneys for the retired players say the settlement would include a cash payment for players who choose to participate; neurological testing and assessment for players paid for by the league; an administrative fund to pay for the costs and up to $75,000 in medical treatment for players who test positive on two or more tests.
The settlement would also set up a “Common Good Fund” available to support retired players in need, including those who did not participate in the litigation. The Forbes document said the found would be $2.5 million.