A judge has denied a preliminary motion to approve the $765 million settlement between the NFL and a group of retired players. The quick of it is the NFL is probably going to have to pay out a whole lot more.
Judge Anita Brody wrote in her opinion, “It is difficult to see how the Monetary Award Fund would have the funds available over its lifespan to pay all claimants at these significant award levels.”
The holdup comes after a last-minute effort to inflate the number of plaintiffs to convince the judge that the number wouldn’t be high enough. More than 4,500 players have filed suit so far. Here’s how the awards would be handled over the course of the 65-year lifespan of the settlement, per the AP:
The awards would vary based on an ex-player’s age and diagnosis. A younger retiree with Lou Gehrig’s disease would get $5 million, those with serious dementia cases would get $3 million and an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000.
For its part, the NFL’s spokespeople say that the league remains confident that the settlement will be approved.
This is good news for anyone who just wants the NFL to eat it, and further, to perhaps return to court and be compelled to show documentation of what it knew and when, even though actually clearing the burden of proof at trial would be trickier than it maybe ought to be, since the science on traumatic brain injury is still evolving (and may not even be admissible).
But for many of the original plaintiffs, that’s of faint benefit. Some are older and in need of money for care now, or otherwise in situations where they’d be far better served cashing out now, instead of being tied up in litigation for a decade. This is one of the risks and complications of banding all of the suits into one.