The NFL will have to battle a much bigger “force” rather than many small forces when it comes to the law suits filed by the former players. The some 80 different cases will be brought together into one “master complaint” to be heard in Philadelphia;
A federal judicial panel has consolidated the cases before U.S. District Judge Anita Brody. The lawsuits aim to hold the NFL responsible for medical monitoring and treatment of the veteran players.
The plaintiffs include Mary Ann Easterling, the widow of former Atlanta Falcons safety Roy Easterling. The complaint comes less than two months after the 62-year-old Easterling shot himself at their Richmond, Va., home.
According to The Los Angeles Times, a teleconference is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Thursday to address the filing. Mary Ann Easterling and former NFL fullback Kevin Turner are scheduled to speak.
People can look at this from two different perspectives here: 1. the players will have more “resources” and represent a larger group, or 2. the NFL only has to win one case versus 80. Either way it makes a ton of sense for those filing the complaint, after all there is safety in numbers, right?
A little late on this one but decidedly un-legal (and personal) opinion is that this is great news for the NFL. Their defense strategy against the lawsuits was going to be – essentially – the same for all 80+ litigations. Now, they can take all those resources and put them into one case. OTOH, there will be hundreds of different lawyers and player opinions as to what “victory” will mean to the players.
Seems to me there is little chance the players can win the damages portion of the litigation – proving that the damage in their brains occurred on the watch of the NFL will be next to impossible. The damage could have occurred at college, high school or when they were young. The damage could also have occurred at myriad other events in their lives (fights, auto accidents, bicycle accidents, falling out of a tree, etc.)
The second portion of the litigation will be more interesting to watch: whether or not the NFL and other defendants intentionally withheld information and/or deceived the players about the dangers involved with the game. That’s another game all together.