In re National Football League Players Concussion Injury Litigation

821 F.3d 410 (2016)

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In re National Football League Players Concussion Injury Litigation

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
821 F.3d 410 (2016)

Facts

The National Football League (NFL) (defendant) was sued by more than 20,000 former players (the NFL players) (plaintiffs) for failure to warn of the risks posed by concussions. The NFL players also alleged that the NFL orchestrated a disinformation campaign to deny the reality of concussive brain injuries in the game. Health risks associated with concussive and subconcussive hits include Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, impaired cognitive functioning, loss of memory, mood swings, and personality changes, among other risks. Claims included negligence, fraudulent concealment, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligent retention, wrongful death, and civil conspiracy. After mediation, the parties reached a settlement that provided for $765 million to fund the NFL players’ medical claims. Counsel for the NFL players filed for class certification, but the district court denied the motion, reasoning that the capped fund would not be sufficient. Further negotiations led to a new settlement that uncapped the fund. Class counsel again moved for class certification. The court granted the motion and approved the settlement. Various objectors then challenged the validity of this decision on appeal. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ambro, J.)

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