PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The National Football League is hoping to consolidate in Philadelphia a string of lawsuits filed across the country by former players who say they've suffered concussion-related brain injuries.
Seven former players filed the first such lawsuit last summer in Philadelphia, where a similar lawsuit filed Jan. 9 seeks more than $5 million for more than 100 ex-players. Other lawsuits are pending or expected in California, Florida, New York and elsewhere, said lawyer Sol Weiss, who's involved in the first lawsuit.
A hearing is set for Jan. 26 in Miami for the parties to ask a federal judicial panel to consolidate the cases before a U.S. District Court judge in Philadelphia. The NFL requested the move to avoid trying related litigation in several districts, according to its motion.
The lawsuit filed Jan. 9 seeks damages for traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative disorders on behalf of 106 former players, including former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Brent Boyd and three Hall of Famers: Detroit Lions cornerback Lem Barney, Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure and Vikings defensive back Paul Krause.
Boyd, his lawyers said, is the only living player to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease that is found in people who've had multiple head injuries and whose symptoms can include memory loss. He has started an organization called Dignity After Football to help former players who are disabled or lack league pensions.
Attorney Richard Lewis, one of those who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement that as the NFL prepares for the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, “it has forgotten about the legacy of its former players, many of whom built the league and are now suffering from the devastating consequences of on-field head injuries.”
The league pledges to vigorously fight accusations it failed to protect players, a spokesman said.