In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation

314 F.R.D. 580 (2016)

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In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
314 F.R.D. 580 (2016)

Facts

Current and former student-athletes (athletes) (plaintiffs) sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (defendant) for relief related to the NCAA’s handling of athletes’ concussions and return-to-play policies over the course of many years. A class action and numerous other suits were filed by the athletes and consolidated by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in the Northern District of Illinois. Following extensive negotiations, the athletes and the NCAA reached a settlement agreement (settlement). The settlement defined the settlement class as all athletes who played NCAA-sanctioned sports at NCAA-member institutions prior to the date upon which the settlement was approved by the court. The settlement also included a request, per Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(d), for notice to all class members and an opportunity to opt of out of the class. The settlement promised future corrective measures to concussion-related protocol and created a $70 million Medical Monitoring Fund and Medical Monitoring Program (MMP) that would provide ongoing screening and evaluation of concussion-related symptoms and mid- to late-life onset diseases that cause cognitive, mood, and motor problems to the athletes for a period of 50 years, starting within 90 days of approval. In exchange, the athletes bound by the settlement agreed to waive all concussion-related personal-injury claims brought on a class-wide basis, but their right to bring individual personal-injury claims was preserved. Many of the athletes and the NCAA submitted the agreement to the court for approval, but two athletes objected to the agreement to the extent that it required the athletes to release personal-injury claims brought on a class-wide basis. The settling athletes and NCAA moved to certify the settlement class and approve the agreement.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lee, J.)

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