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Court Denies Players’ Appeal of NFL Concussion Claims Deal

By | September 12, 2014

A group of retired National Football League players can’t appeal a judge’s preliminary approval of a $765 million settlement of concussion claims with the NFL they say excludes compensation for future deaths.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia today denied the request by seven former players to challenge the July 7 ruling. The three-judge panel didn’t state the reasoning behind its decision, saying a written opinion will be issued later.

The panel questioned the players’ timing at a hearing yesterday. “You’re asking us to review a record that’s barren of the kind of facts that even a district court should have,” U.S. Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith said.

More than 5,000 football players have sued the league for damages for head injuries. The retirees accuse the NFL of failing to inform players of the link between repeated traumatic head impact and long-term brain injuries.

The retired players who sought to overturn U.S. District Judge’s Anita Brody’s preliminary approval of the settlement claim former athletes suffering from early effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy won’t receive any benefits under the deal. CTE is a brain disease diagnosed after death.

Players have until Oct. 14 to decide whether to take part in the settlement. A final approval hearing is scheduled for Nov. 19.

The case is In re National Football League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, 14-8103, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Philadelphia).

–With assistance from Sophia Pearson in federal court in Philadelphia.

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