Sports Law Blog
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Two New Sports Illustrated Articles: Proposed NFL settlement Rejected, Maryland sues ACC
I have a couple of articles for SI.com today, a busy day in sports law:
* What Rejection of Settlement means to concussion case against NFL
The good news for the NFL and the retired NFL players who support the settlement is that they can rework it and then petition for Brody's approval. One obvious correction would be to provide more data and documentation to support the settlement's economic assumptions. A second and more controversial step would be to increase the $765 million. Whether NFL owners, who will share in paying this amount, are willing to increase their contributions by a significant margin remains to be seen. A 31 percent increase would bring the settlement amount to just over $1 billion. Given the league's annual revenue of $9 billion to $10 billion, it could send a powerful message to Brody and skeptical retired NFL players if a new proposed settlement at least crossed the billion dollar line.
A reworked settlement could also reallocate some of the money that was intended for medical research to retired players' health expenses. While this move would raise a potentially different set of objections by Brody, it would help to address her central criticism that not enough money is being made available to retired players.
* Maryland-ACC suit brings business of college sports back to spotlight again
There are three key takeaways from the Maryland-ACC litigation.
First, both sides hope to litigate before home-state courts, with the ACC holding the "home-court" advantage for the time being. The North Carolina-headquartered ACC is surely appreciative to litigate before North Carolina jurors and a judge elected by North Carolina voters. Maryland, in contrast, would prefer to litigate before a Maryland court, which would feature Maryland jurors and a judge who, though initially appointed by the governor, must face Maryland voters to be retained.
While the law must be applied fairly by the courts of all states, trial attorneys are mindful that local biases can sometimes play a crucial difference in close cases. Should the ACC win in North Carolina, watch for Maryland to attempt to convince a Maryland court to hear similar claims.