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NFL, former players reach settlement in concussion lawsuit

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

There has been a settlement worth a proposed $765 million in the NFL's concussion case that included some 4,500 former players suing the league over head trauma.

The settlement breaks down to $170,000, on average, per player.

NFLCommunications.com issued this press release on the settlement:

Former United States District Judge Layn Phillips, the court -- appointed mediator in the consolidated concussion -- related lawsuits brought by more than 4,500 retired football players against the National Football League and others, announced today that the parties had reached an agreement that would end the litigation against the NFL and NFL Properties and provide medical and other benefits, as well as compensation, to qualifying injured players or th eir families.

The agreement came after nearly two months of intensive negotiations under the supervision of Judge Phillips. It will be submitted for approval to United States District Judge Anita B. Brody, who is presiding over these cases in federal court in Philadelphia. Under the agreement, the NFL and NFL Properties will contribute $765 million to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired NFL football players, fund medical and safety research, and cover litigation expenses. Attorneys' fees, to be approved by the district court, will be paid in addition to the settlement amount.

"This is a historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football,” Judge Phillips said via the statement. “Rather than litigate literally thousands of complex individual claims over many years, the parties have reached an agreement that, if approved, will provide relief and support where it is needed at a time when it is most needed. I am deeply grateful to Judge Brody for appointing me as mediator and offering me the opportunity to work on such an important and interesting matter."

NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash added: "This agreement lets us help those who need it most and continue our work to make the game safer for current and future players. Commissioner Goodell and every owner gave the legal team the same direction: do the right thing for the game and for the men who played it. We thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation. This is an important step that builds on the significant changes we've made in recent years to ma ke the game safer, and we will continue our work to better the long -- term health and well -- being of NFL players."

Former Eagles and Patriots running back Kevin Turner, who now suffers from ALS and will serve as the lead plaintiff for one group of retired players, is thankful for the settlement.

"The benefits in this agreement will make a difference not only for me and my family, but also for thousands of my football brothers who either need help today or may need help someday in the future," Turner said. "I am grateful that the NFL is making a commitment to the men who made the game what it is today."

In addition to Turner, some of the names in the lawsuit include Art Monk, Mark Rypien, Tony Dorsett, Alex Karras, Mark Duper and Joe Horn.

A summary of the key terms of the agreement, via the press release:

Class settlement: The settlement will include all players who have retired as of the date on which the Court grants preliminary approval to the settlement agreement, their authorized representatives, or family members (in the case of a former player who is deceased.

No Admissions of Liability or Weakness of Claims: The settlement does not represent, and cannot be considered, an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that plaintiffs' injuries were caused by football. Nor is it an acknowledgement by the plaintiffs of any deficiency in their case. Instead, it represents a decision by both sides to compromise their claims and defenses, and to devote their resources to benefit retired players and their families, rather than litigate these cases.

Payments: The NFL and NFL Properties will make payments in connection with the settlement as follows:

(A) Baseline medical exams, the cost of which will be capped at $75 million;

(B) A separate fund of $675 million to compensate former players who have suffered cognitive injury or their families;

(C) A separate research and education fund of $10 million;

(D) The costs of notice to the members of the class, which will not exceed $4 million;

(E) $2 million, representing one half of the compensation of the Settle ment Administrator for a period of 20 years; and

(F) Legal fees and litigation expenses to the plaintiffs' counsel, which amounts will be set by the District Court

Timing of Payments: If the settlement receives final approval, and any appeals have been concluded, the NFL will pay approximately 50 percent of the settlement amount over three years, and the balance over the next 17 years.

Injury Compensation Fund: The fund of at least $675 million will be available to pay monetary awards to retired players who present medical evidence of severe cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer's, ALS, or to their families. The precise amount of compensation will be based upon the specific diagnosis, as well as other factors including age, number of seasons played in the NFL, and other relevant medical conditions. These determinations will be made by independent doctors working with settlement administrators appointed by the District Court.

The NFL will also allocate $10 million toward "medical, safety, and injury-prevention research and toward educating retired players on NFL benefits programs."

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