Judge Orders Mediation In NFL Brain Injury Lawsuit

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Source: Daniel X. O'Brien

Source: Daniel X. O’Brien

Anyone following the lawsuits between over 4,000 current and retired football players and the NFL is looking forward to hearing a ruling from U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody on whether the lawsuits can proceed or whether they would be dismissed due to collective bargaining agreements within the league. Those waiting, should also be prepared to wait for a while.

Brody had planned to rule on July 22, but instead she gave an order Monday requiring the two sides to attempt to resolve how the case will go forward by undergoing mediation with retired U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips of Oklahoma. Brody insists the dispute over whether the retired players can sue or whether the claims fall under the collective bargaining agreement should be resolved in arbitration. Phillips is expected to report back to Brody on the progress of the mediation by Sept. 3, as ESPN Reports.

The NFL responded with a statement saying, “We respect and will comply with the court’s order regarding mediation and will be available to meet with Judge Phillips at his direction,” while the players have yet to release a statement.

The players are accusing the league of actively trying to suppress information about brain injury within the league, as well as supporting a culture of violence and outright not doing enough to protect the players. The NFL argues this should be resolved outside of litigation, though there are over 300 players involved in the lawsuit who played before the collective bargaining agreement was put in place. The NFL also argues that the teams bear the chief responsibility for health and safety of players, also placing responsibility on the players’ union and the players themselves.

During the preliminary arguments, Brody expressed frustration with the case and the complex nature of the dispute. “It has to be really specific,” she said. “That’s what I have to wrestle with.”

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