On Thursday, lawyers for former NFL players filed a "master complaint" against the NFL, claiming that the NFL ignored and concealed information linking football-related head trauma to permanent brain damage, The Associated Press reports.
The complaint consolidates over 80 pending lawsuits filed by former players against the league. Mary Ann Easterling, the widow of former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, is among the plaintiffs. Easterling committed suicide in April, allegedly as a result of depression brought on by concussions he experienced during his time in the NFL.
The suit accuses the NFL of negligence and intentional misconduct for allegedly ignoring former players' complaints of dementia, dizziness, and headaches. The helmet maker Riddell, Inc. is also named as a defendant.
"Despite its knowledge and controlling role in governing player conduct on and off the field, the NFL turned a blind eye to the risk and failed to warn and/or impose safety regulations governing this well-recognized health and safety problem," the complaint reads.
In a negligence suit, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a legal duty to him and, in failing to fulfill that legal duty, the defendant injured the plaintiff. Here, the players are likely arguing that the NFL had a duty to keep players safe to the best of its ability, and in breaching that duty, the league caused many players to be permanently injured.
The plaintiffs are trying to get the NFL to cover the costs of treatment for former players who suffer from Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and other disorders thought to be brought on by head trauma. "I think the thing that was so discouraging was just the denial by the NFL," Mary Ann Easterling told The Associated Press. According to Mary Ann, Ray Easterling said that if he could go back, he wouldn't have played in the NFL.
- Find an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
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