Archive for the ‘NFL Injury Lawsuits’ Category

Five Former National Football League Players Sue Team Over Injuries

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Despite American’s love, and sometimes even obsession, with football, the game is not without its price—most notably to those who have played the game at the collegiate or professional level. A recent lawsuit filed by five former National Football League (NFL) players against the team that they played for—the Kansas City Chief—highlights this fact. The NFL is not a named defendant. The players were on the team for various years from 1987 through 1993. The lawsuit claims that the team hid and lied about the risks of head injuries to its players. The lawsuit was filed by Leonard Griffin, Kevin Porter, Chris Martin, Joe Phillips, and Alexander Louis Cooper. All of the five men were defensive players. The lawsuit seeks actual and punitive damages. Claims for damages arise out of latent brain injuries sustained as a result of repeated concussions.

The players were on the team at a time when the NFL had no collective bargaining agreement in place. Since that time, collective bargaining agreements have been in place, and those agreements would require arbitration of such claims under federal labor laws. Furthermore, the case is also able to proceed through standard judicial review procedures because the injuries are exempted from the application of Missouri’s workers compensation laws under a unique exception that, unless extended, will expire at the end of 2013. This exception provides that injuries arising out an accident, or a specific event during a single work shifty injury, are not subject to workers’ compensation laws.

The lawsuit, filed in Jackson County, Missouri, alleges that each of the five men have suffered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) due to multiple concussive and sub-concussive injuries. The allegations include that the Kansas City Chiefs marginalized the effects of concussions; that the team did know or, at least should have known, that post-concussion syndrome and cognitive impairment occurs in football players; that the team did know, or at least should have known, that repetitive head trauma can lead to permanent neurological impairments, including CTE; and that the team did know, or at least should have known, that CTE is present in athletes with a history of repetitive head trauma, including football players and boxers, but that the symptoms of the disease may not appear for years or decades after the athlete ceases his sport.

The Complaint further alleges that the team did know or, at a minimum, should have known that the frequency of occurrence of brain trauma is correlated to the degree of neurological impairment. The football community, in 1937, acknowledged the need to remove players after suffering from a concussion. The definitive link between football head injuries and CTE was not established until 2002 due to the Kansas City Chiefs’, and others’, efforts to conceal the link, the Complaint asserts. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently issued a warning letter to certain former NFL players (those whose careers spanned more than five seasons) that their risk of death from neurologic disease was three times greater than other players. Despite the overwhelming evidence of a link between repetitive head injuries and neurological injuries, the Kansas City Chiefs never warned the Plaintiffs of the risk. According to the Complaint, the Kansas City Chiefs had a duty to warn its players of the risks, and the team’s failure to do so was both negligent and fraudulent. The Complaint seeks an unspecified amount of damages.

Barrett Law PLLC has significant experience representing individuals injured as a result of workplace conditions. If you or a family member has suffered a workplace related injury, please contact our office today at (800) 707-9577 to schedule an initial, no-cost consultation to discuss your rights.