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Press Release on NFLPA Concussion Lawsuit

Press Release on NFLPA Concussion Lawsuit
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  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact   July 18, 2014   Bob Langdon   816.421.8080 Kevin Regan 816.221.5357  NFL Players Association Sued for Civil Conspiracy on Behalf of Former NFL Players  New Lawsuit Argues that NFLPA was Complicit with League in Covering up Concussion Risks to Players   Kansas City, Mo., July 18, 2014 -- A group of former National Football League players has filed lawsuits against the NFL Players Association, alleging it failed to take necessary steps to protect  players from traumatic brain injuries in the face of overwhelming medical evidence that on-field concussions lead directly to such injuries. Former NFL players Neil Smith, Anthony Davis, Ladell Betts, Christian Ballard and Gregory Westbrooks are among the plaintiffs in this case, which seeks medical monitoring and financial compensation for the long-term chronic injuries, financial losses, expenses and intangible losses suffered as a result of the NFLPA’s intentional and negligent tortious misconduct. Kansas City-based law firms The Regan Law Firm, Shaffer Lombardo Shurin, Langdon & Emison and Yonke Law LLC are leading the lawsuit. The claims filed assert that the NFLPA has been aware of the evidence linking repetitive traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to long-term neurological problems for decades, but it deliberately ignored the risks to players and failed to communicate this critical information to them and to the general public. As pointed out in the suit, DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA, said to Congress in 2009 that “ for far too long, our former players were left adrift (and) we were complicit in the lack of leadership and ac countability but that ends now.” At further hearings before the House Judiciary Committee, Smith testified “t here is simply no justification for the NFL to have  previously ignored or discredited” th e body of research available to that point. “In the truest sense of the word, the NFLPA is not a union because a union looks after its members,” said Bob Langdon , attorney for Langdon & Emison. “NFL players could have avoided or mitigated the dangers of their sport had the NFLPA provided them with truthful and accurate information.” Plaintiff Neil Smith, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1988 to 1996 and won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, while Ladell Betts played   professional football for the Washington Redskins from 2002 through 2009 and for the New Orleans Saints in 2010. Anthony Davis won a Super Bowl championship with the Baltimore Ravens. Greg Westbrooks played for multiple teams during his NFL career. In 2011, Christian Ballard was drafted in the fourth round by the Minnesota Vikings; he retired from the NFL in 2013. During their careers, these players sustained multiple repetitive traumatic head impacts and concussions during practices and games, which were never acknowledged and never treated. Over the years, these plaintiffs as well as their colleagues in the league paid thousands of dollars in dues to the NFLPA. The NFLPA, through its representatives and agents, assured players that it would protect their best interests and owed to its members a fiduciary duty. “ We believe that the most important resource in the NFL is the players, and the most essential  part of a  player’s body is the brain,” said attorney Kevin Regan, who has represented NFL  players in other matters. “ Considering the millions of dollars received as dues from NFLPA members, the NFLPA did not do enough to protect its members from traumatic brain injury .” The suit alleges that, “At all times, the NFLPA has had unparalleled access to and knowledge of data relating to the relationship between head impacts on football players and cognitive decline. This access to and knowledge of data comes from the NFLPA’s awareness of the growing  body of scientific literature on the subject, its own medical consultants, its own requested or commissioned studies on the subject, its participation in the Retirement Board of the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan (“Retirement Board”), a nd its participation in the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee (the “MTBI Committee”).”   “Sadly, the players association knew for years about the medical science behind the dangers of the game, and in spite of their promises to do what was in the best interest of their members, they  joined the league in hiding those dangers from everyone ,” said Jim Kearney, who started for the 1969 Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. “ These former pro players should be proud of themselves for stepping up, because the y’re standing up and saying that they would have  behaved differently if the players association hadn’t been complicit with the league in hiding their full knowledge from them. If this action through the court system would have been available to me when I was just out of the league, I would have been alongside them as part of the lawsuit.”  The suit also argues that rather than informing the players of the results regarding nervous system disorders, the NFLPA instead deliberately concealed the results of the studies that had been commissioned for the players’ protection. The NFLPA supplied false and misleading information regarding the risk of harm and engaged in a long-running course of fraudulent and negligent conduct.   The players association further engaged in a campaign of disinformation designed to dispute accepted and valid research regarding the connection between repetitive head injuries or concussions and degenerative brain disease; and to create a falsified body of research that the  NFLPA could cite as proof that truthful and accepted neuroscience on the subject was  inconclusive and subject to doubt. “For years, the NFLPA received and paid for advice from medical consultants regarding health risks associated with playing football, including the health risks associated with concussive and sub-concussiv e injuries,” said Rick Lombardo  of Shaffer Lombardo Shurin. “ When presented with information from such medical consultants regarding the health risks associated with these types of injuries, the NFLPA ignored, concealed and turned a blind eye to such information. These individuals should not be asked to pay the costs for the players association’s negligence.” About the lawsuit:  Together the four firms of Shaffer Lombardo Shurin, The Regan Law Firm, Langdon & Emison and Yonke Law LLC continue to accept additional plaintiffs in related  personal injury lawsuits related to professional football injuries. To learn more about this body of litigation , you can visit the group’s web site at ###
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