Oral Arguments in NFL Brain Injury Case Begin Tuesday

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Source: Daniel X. O'Brien

This week is an important one for the NFL and all of its future, current, and former players as a federal court in Philadelphia will decide whether the lawsuits by over 4,000 players has legal merit to go forward, as USA Today reports.

The 200 plus lawsuits by the players have been consolidated into a single hearing beginning Tuesday. U.D. District Judge Anita Brody will preside over oral hearings on the NFL’s motion to dismiss a master complaint filled over the summer by a committee of attorneys representing the players.

If you paid attention to the big Supreme Court hearings or any other major legal case, you won’t be surprised to hear that a decision is not likely to be immediate and there will of course be appeals following, but none-the-less tomorrow is important for being the first step into the court room for this controversial legal case.

The complaint filed against the NFL alleges the league “deliberately ignored and actively concealed” risks of repetitive brain injuries and their long term effects, including depression and dementia for decades, but what will be argued tomorrow is barely related.

The NFL contends that the complaints filed against them involve a labor dispute as part of their collective bargaining agreements, which Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act says must be settled by grievance procedures and arbitration, but not court.

The league is also arguing that the case is preempted by a clause that bars legal action that would require the courts to interpret the terms of the collective bargaining agreements, which sounds like crazy circular logic, personally. If the courts can’t determine what is and isn’t part of the collective bargaining agreements, then couldn’t the NFL claim any issue under the agreements?

Obviously, the players and their attorneys claim there is no such immunity, and that the players have the right to be heard in court.

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