It’s been called the “largest sports settlement in history”: the landmark, estimated $1 billion settlement of the class-action lawsuit filed by former NFL players who sued the league for lying to them about the dangers of concussions. The “settlement covers retired players who develop Lou Gehrig’s disease, dementia or other neurological problems believed to be caused by concussions suffered during their pro careers, with awards as high as $5 million for the most serious cases,“ reported AP.
The mountain of cash has proven to be an irresistible temptation to unscrupulous lenders and advisers who are looking for more generous cuts of the brain-damaged class members’ payments. In a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Christopher Seeger, the players’ attorney in the class-action suit, said nearly 1,000 ex-players had signed “dubious” contracts with lenders and lawyers in the past few months, according to the New York Times. Nearly a dozen lenders lent money at interest rates of 50 percent or higher to players who agreed to pay them back when they receive their settlement money.
Judge Brody had called the hearing in response to news reports of what she called “purportedly deceptive or misleading solicitations” of former players. According to Seeger and a partner, the questionable practices included charging players thousands of dollars in fees for the usurious loans and former players being paid fees to convince those who qualify for the settlement to sign agreements with lawyers and lenders.
For example, one plaintiff who had access to the N.F.L. Alumni Association’s database of retired players received $200,000 from two law firms that wanted to use his name to help sign up former players. They offered him bonuses of up to $75,000 for every 25 players he referred who have diagnoses covered under the settlement. The plaintiff provided emails that showed that he tried to stop the lawyers from sending a deliberately misleading pitch letter with his name on it to former players.
Players have also signed contracts with law firms and “so-called claims service providers that promise to help players file settlement claims in return for 10 or 15 percent of any cash awards. Some of these firms work with the lenders as well as brokers, who receive fees for referring players”(NYT). “We don’t want to watch these awards be cannibalized,” Seeger told Judge Brody.
Richard Manger, principal of Manger Law Firm, has extensive experience in litigation and settlements, with a focus on personal injury and workers’ compensation law. We are proud of the strong relationships of loyalty and trust we develop with our clients. We go above and beyond to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. You can contact Richard Manger via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (336) 882-2000.