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NFL Concussion Settlement Appealed

Former NFL players are appealing a concussion settlement pending before the Third Circuit. Zuckerman Spaeder lawyers Cy Smith (below), Dwight Bostwick, David Reiser and Ramya Kasturi are behind the appeal.

The Zuckerman Spaeder lawyers represent former NFL players Jimmie Jones, Ricky Ray and Jesse Solomon. One issue with the current settlement is that former players diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) before the settlement will be entitled to millions of dollars in compensation, while those diagnosed after will receive none. The Third Circuit is expected to hear arguments about the settlement this fall.

There are expected be about a dozen appeals to the potentially $1B settlement filed on behalf of up to 90 former footballers. Zuckerman Spaeder's legal team points out that CTE is alarmingly prevalent among deceased NFL players: 76 of 79 former players' brains examined for CTE were found to have the disease. While future harm from CTE was "the focal point of claims against the NFL," says the appeal, "it is also no surprise that the NFL sought to release future CTE claims without risking the significant exposure that comes with agreeing to compensate these claims."

The appeal also notes that under the settlement, recovery for dementia is a proxy for future CTE diagnoses—however, dementia claims are eligible for payouts averaging only $190k while CTE diagnoses claims would average $1.44M. In 2006, Cy represented the estate of former Steelers player Mike Webster in the first win against the NFL's pension plan. He's pictured with a memento from Webster's family, above. The successful suit kicked off public scrutiny of concussions in pro football.