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NFL Brain Injury Lawsuit Update

The National Football League (NFL) and former league players squared off last week in Philadelphia, where the two sides argued over the appropriate venue for the massive litigation pending against the NFL. More than 4,200 former players or their surviving family members argued that their claims should be heard in federal court; the NFL argued that the case should be dismissed and proceed in arbitration because a collective bargaining agreement with the players union makes the teams and teams and players' union responsible for player safety.

In the underlying lawsuit, plaintiffs have accused the NFL of hiding evidence and misleading players about links between concussions and neurological problems. Players' lawyer David Frederick alleged that the NFL went so far as to conceal data suggesting that concussions and other head injuries could lead to future neurological problems even after the NFL created a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury committee in 1994, which was led by a rheumatologist.

According to this Huffington Post article, Frederick argued that the NFL "set up a sham committee designed to get information about neurological risks, but in fact spread misinformation."

The massive group of plaintiffs includes former players - many of whom are battling dementia, depression, or Alzheimer's disease - or the surviving family members of deceases former players - many of whom died as a result of depression-related suicide. The plaintiffs accuse the NFL of rushing injured players back on the field after concussions, glorifying violence, and profiting from damaging hits to the head.

When hearing both sides' arguments in the arbitration-litigation debate, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody focused on whether the players' union collective bargaining agreement specified head injuries as workplace safety issues that belong in arbitration. Judge Brody is not expected to issue a ruling on the issue for several months. If she rules in favor of the plaintiffs and allows the case to proceed through litigation in federal court, the case may not be resolved for years.

In the meantime, the NFL and General Electric Co. have announced a joint $60 million effort to increase research on brain injury with the goal of improving diagnosis and enhancing treatment of concussions and other head injuries. The joint effort could include research regarding possible genetic indicators of susceptibility to brain injuries and the development of consistent treatment and health management procedures.

The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to protecting the victims of head injuries and other serious injuries. If you are concerned about a possibly traumatic brain injuryor concussion, contact the knowledgeable Chicago personal injury lawyers at Steinberg Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation.

 Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

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