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Seau family objects to NFL's $765M concussion deal

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:08 p.m. HST, Jan 27, 2014

PHILADELPHIA » The family of the late NFL star Junior Seau plans to object to the proposed $765 million settlement of player concussion claims because the fund would not pay wrongful death claims to survivors.

Although the players' lawsuits accused the NFL of concealing known concussion risks, there would be no blame assessed as part of the settlement, and no punitive damages for pain and suffering.

"Mr. Seau's children have their own claims for the wrong the NFL did to them. His children are not suing for their father's pain and suffering, they are suing for their own," lawyer Steven M. Strauss wrote in a court filing Friday that signaled the family's intent to pursue an individual lawsuit.

Other potential critics to the settlement reached by players' lawyers and the league are also starting to emerge — and the judge overseeing the case has herself expressed doubts the sum is big enough.

About 50 plaintiffs' lawyers met in New York last week to learn more about the settlement from the lead lawyers, but some left dissatisfied.

"This could be a great settlement, this could be a terrible settlement, but I don't know," said Chicago lawyer Thomas A. Demetrio, who represents 10 players, including the family of the late Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowler who mostly played with the Chicago Bears.

Duerson fatally shot himself in the chest, leaving his brain intact for autopsy. Like Seau, he was diagnosed with CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. An honors graduate and trustee of the University of Notre Dame, he was 50 when he died, which would factor into his family's payout.

"His estate will receive $2.2 million. That's not adequate," Demetrio said.

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody, who must weigh the deal, also wants more actuarial details than filed with the settlement papers. She preliminarily rejected the plan last month, questioning whether $765 million will be enough to fund about 20,000 claims involved for 65 years, as promised.

The architects of the plan argue that the players could end up with nothing if the lawsuits are thrown out of court. The NFL had argued that the claims belonged in arbitration. The retirees would also have to prove their injuries came from NFL concussions, and not those suffered earlier.

"The retired player community has provided overwhelming support for this agreement, and we look forward to finalizing it soon so they can begin taking advantage of its benefits," lead lawyers Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss said in a statement today that recognized the work of other lawyers on the case.

The NFL settlement, if approved in court, would be capped at $4 million on behalf of players diagnosed after their deaths with traumatic brain injury.

The payments could go as high as $5 million for younger men with Alzheimer's disease, but many more plaintiffs with mild dementia would get $25,000 or less under the deal.

Demetrio wants to know how much of the NFL's payment will come from insurance, and why the lawyers would split another $112 million, when the case did not reach discovery or trial. The NFL's annual revenues top $9 billion.

"It's very, very unusual ... for all the plaintiffs to not know what's going on," Demetrio said. "They're acting like the Lone Ranger."

The Seau Family, meanwhile, is also concerned that the deal calls for a stay on individual suits until all appeals are finalized with the settlement.

"Junior Seau's children could be forced to wait years for justice, while the NFL continues to make billions of dollars and the memories of witnesses grow ever more distant," the filing said.

The NFL, which on today joined two U.S. lawmakers in pushing for legislation to help protect student athletes from concussions, declined comment today on the Seau family's objections.

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lokela wrote:
I really feel for all the families involved with the effects of concussions. But also all these players know very well that entering this violent game will leave scars when they are done playing. They have been playing this game for decades. Are there incidents of concussion related issues? Bet there have been. But no one linked concussions to suicides or whatever back then. Is the NFL really at fault here? This really is the result of playing a violent game that football fans and players enjoy. There is nothing the NFL can do to keep the players healthy other then end the game of Football period. Unless they start playing touch football. Who knows might catch on. Still can bet.
on January 27,2014 | 04:06PM
I have nothing else to add except I wholeheartedly agree with you. Kinda like the people on the north shore-erosion is part of the consequences that a person is willing to accept should their house wash away-It will eventually happen and to play dumb and expect somebody else to help is very sad. I do feel for the families on the North Shore as well as the families of the NFL players, but nuff is nuff. Nobody forced these guys to play ball knowing well that the physicality of the game is enough to give even a child the common sense to know they might get hurt.
on January 27,2014 | 04:43PM
Ronin006 wrote:
NFL players are dumber than I thought. They have been required to wear helmets almost since the game was invented because there was a great risk if head injuries, yet players claim they did not know they might get concussions. It defies common sense. Players should have known the risks they were taken without having to be told and, therefore, should not be paid one cent for any injuries they may have sustained.
on January 27,2014 | 04:21PM
Ronin006 wrote:
NFL players have been required to wear helmets almost since the game was invented because there was a great risk of head injuries, yet players claim they did not know they might get concussions. It defies common sense. Players should have known the risks they were taken without having to be told and, therefore, should not be paid one cent for any injuries they may have sustained.
on January 27,2014 | 04:23PM
localguy wrote:
Ronin006 - Another rookie poster. From the earlier days of the NFL, medial science did not have the technology or evidence to show the effects of all those hits players take. Only after players retired and aged did it come to life. They are suffering similar to many boxers who also had many hard head hits. Science is also showing soccer players are experiencing long term brain injuries, many due to "heading" the ball. Unknown years ago. Players should have know the risks? Really? How would they when scientists didn't know it? You provided no evidence to back up your post. Typical for rookie posters. The NFL could easily have provided group long term care/health insurance for the players, they have the money. Oh, to follow on your limited point of view, all the 9/11 first responders "Should have known" their work at the disaster sight would have serious long term health effects on them, they willfully failed to wear protective respirators available at any safety supply store. So do not pay them anything? This is what you said. Rookies.............
on January 27,2014 | 07:37PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
localguy, first of all, as I have asked before, what is a "rookie poster"? Are you saying that you are a "veteran poster"? If so, congratulations. But I doubt "veteran posters" are supposed to be rude and obnoxious. You act like you are so perfect and everyone here is ignorant. Your behavior exudes lack of class and thereby lack of true intelligence. In defense of the "rookie poster", and that includes myself, this is not the first time that tragedies have befallen football players on the field as a result of football plays. We have had what is now called concussions and worse, we have had paralysis resulting from hits during game play. Their point is that football players know what they are getting into. They know that there will be injuries of all kinds due to the physicality. That is partly why they receive a handsome salary. Same goes with boxers. They know what they are getting into. Now, I do feel for the families of these players who have suffered from concussions but at the same time these players chose to go into the profession knowing that injuries, even career ending injuries do occur. Law enforcement officers know what they are getting into and that is why you don't see families suing the department should an officer go down during the call of duty. The only time that they may sue is if there was negligence on the department's part. Families of football players who are injured or suffer from such injuries should not be able to sue for millions because their family member decided to participate in a sport that is obviously a dangerous contact sport. And that is coming from someone who feel that the league should compensate the colleges that prepare their future players. Without the colleges providing the training the league would not have much players to pull from. If your "veteran poster" pedigree cannot understand that, then you need to go back to poster school.
on January 27,2014 | 09:34PM
sailfish1 wrote:
If medical science could not show the effects of player hits, how do you expect anyone in the NFL to have known about it.? Yet, it is common sense that banging each other around MAY result in injuries. Players now blame the NFL but who knows if their injuries were not sustained in the many years turning pro. One other thing - you have no right to call people names here when you yourself haven't thought things out before you post. You need to grow up or wise up.
on January 28,2014 | 05:24AM
oiwi808 wrote:
localguy - The NFL DOES offer health group health insurance for retired players. Many choose to opt out of the coverage because they don't want to pay the copay. You ever heard the old saying "you play with fire"? Thats whats happening here. Its the dumbing down of America. I'll bang my head on the wall because nobody told me it was dangerous...then I'll sue you for not telling me it would hurt me. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE FOOTBALL! But each and every player that has ever played the game knows that it is a dangerous sport.
on January 28,2014 | 06:22AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Wow ... Seau's kids are greedy little bas*****. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? If a cop gets shot on the job, does his family sue for wrongful death or pain and suffering? Football players have always know that the game comes with risk of injury, Seau accepted those risks and was paid for playing. Now they want to sue because the money is gone and they've experience injury playing in a contact sport? It's all just ridiculous and without merit.
on January 27,2014 | 04:57PM
localguy wrote:
saywhatyouthink - As usual you prove you are your blogging name, posting nothing but shibai. Truth is during Seau's playing time medical science was not up to the task to prove the connection between playing and long term consequences of all the hits. Many earlier players used steroids, (Lyle Alzado was one) and the thought was this caused the problems. Now we know better, we know the long term consequences. The judge is correct to hold off accepting the NFL's payment. NFL is trying to get off on the cheap while making billions off the players. NFL can easily afford to pay out $1 billion or more, provide all NFL players with life time long term care insurance, and provide disability insurance. Sad when rookie posters haven't got a clue what they are commenting on. Typical for those attending the Nei's failing educational system.
on January 27,2014 | 07:31PM
Kman wrote:
Local guy.... Have you ever owned a business? NFL can EASILY pay billions?? Are you serious? Have you ever paid workers comp? Payroll taxes? Gen liability? When you applied for your job were you forced to go to work? When we all go to work we know what we are getting into..... GREED is what it all comes down to.... Open your eyes localguy..... On top if that look at how seau spent his money when he was out of football.
on January 27,2014 | 07:53PM
HLOEWEN wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on January 27,2014 | 10:27PM
gofigga wrote:
Sadly, if the lawyers and greed have their ways, this statement will not fall far from the truth. Whenever you talk of large sums of money, people, with no direct connection to the action, will lose all responsibility. When their loved ones were playing, getting paid relatively big dollars to do so. These family members didn't sue the sports organizations to halt all play because of the possible future damage that participating in the sport could have on the physical and psycholocical well being of these participants. One way to get rid of the problem, get rid of the game.People will sit in front of their moniters and watch whatever.
on January 28,2014 | 02:23AM
LMO wrote:
You've obviously never watched hockey...
on January 28,2014 | 02:39AM
HLOEWEN wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on January 28,2014 | 05:15AM
gofigga wrote:
Just watch them. Yeah they do! And then some!
on January 28,2014 | 09:15AM
sailfish1 wrote:
Don't just blame the NFL for injuries sustained in football. These professional football players played football many years before they became a professional. Many could have piled on head injuries since childhood.
on January 28,2014 | 05:32AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Good point, sailfish1. Most, if not all, NFL players played football in high school, college and perhaps in Pop Warner leagues before high school. I do not believe it is possible for medical science to say with certainty exactly where in a player’s career a brain injury may have occurred. The only reason the NFL is being blamed is because is because it has money.
on January 28,2014 | 08:06AM
gofigga wrote:
Maybe I shoud have gone a little further. I didn't just mean the NFL but professional sports in general. Baseball, tennis, basketball, soccer, bowling, golf, any sport that you can possibly suffer any phisical injury.They should all be stopped immediately. Give me a break! These professional players enjoyed the fame when they played. They enjoyed the money, and they enjoyed the lifestyle. Unfortunately, a person gets old and his/her body cannot function on the level that it needs to in order to perform in the sport. This is life. you performed, got paid, had the glory , and it is over. End of sentence! It was a great ride, but now it is over. I thought that this was evident to everyone. Where did I get it wrong?
on January 28,2014 | 08:53AM
gofigga wrote:
First of all, ignore localguy, he's not local. Secondly, what Hloewen says has a sad truism in it. If we take out all personal responsibility from any acts of athleticism we are setting ourselves up for the elimination of such events. I must admit that the game of football today is a far cry from the game I played when I was in high school. These athletes are bigger, stronger, and so much faster then we ever could be. But the human body has remained the same. Is it not common sense to believe that if you expose the body to so much more punishment that the damage will happen? If you can't see this then I am really sorry for the outcome of the human race.I suffer today from arthritis in both knees, ankles, and sometimes shoulders. Do I cry because I was not told about the possible long term effects of these injuries? No, I just suck it up, and accept that no one put a gun to my head and forced me to play a "game" that I loved. C'mon people, show a little SELF-RESPONSIBILITY!
on January 28,2014 | 03:51AM
HD36 wrote:
I got knocked out and had a concussion playing football in 5th grade during recess when me and another kid jumped up to catch the same ball. I should be able to sue the state of California for allowing us to participate in dangerous activities during school.
on January 28,2014 | 05:26AM
gofigga wrote:
Hey HD36 did you know that some schools do not let the kids play with thoses rubber balls precisely because of what happened to you. They might get hurt!
on January 28,2014 | 08:56AM
sailfish1 wrote:
That same family probably did not say anything to Junior Seau to quit playing football. Rather, they just basked in the money and glory of his athletic abilities. Now that he is gone, that same family is still trying to squeeze every dollar they can for their own.
on January 28,2014 | 05:39AM
ready2go wrote:
Auto accidents can kill you. Catch a bus!
on January 28,2014 | 06:03AM
DanLBoom wrote:
IT'S FOOTBALL . Like boxing "You have to protect your self at all Times". It's a contact sport....good grief !!! What next ... Flag football... Imua
on January 28,2014 | 06:12AM
serious wrote:
As Lombardi said, dancing is a contact sport--football is a collision sport!! But just like the Twin Tower settlement--I still don't know why they were compensated--but after the money went out they sued the airlines and everybody else involved. In a country that graduates 5 times more attorneys than doctors, this is what we get. China has just the opposite!!
on January 28,2014 | 08:47AM
TTPwr wrote:
Lets forget about football and get into the world's most popular game - Soccer!
on January 28,2014 | 07:05AM
gofigga wrote:
Sorry TTPwr but the good Lord gave me two perfectly working arms and hands. Why, in the world, would I catch or stop a ball with my head, chest, or other body part? It just don't make sense.
on January 28,2014 | 09:14AM
MariaBetty wrote:
What about the UFC? Their goons take all the hits for a few thousands, while their league makes billions.
on January 28,2014 | 09:57AM
eastside808 wrote:
I think if I was physically gifted to play the game of football and earn a really good living where I could provide for my wife and kids future, I would take that chance and play football. Unfortunately not all the players have the foresight to ensure their families are well taken care of in the future, but does that burden fall on the organization that employed them? If so, then we should all be able to sue our school, college, work place, etc because they did not tell us what to do with our earnings. It's about time that people take responsibility for their own lives and for the consequence of their decisions, right or wrong.
on January 28,2014 | 11:15AM
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