Monthly Archives: January 2014

NCAA Next in Line for Concussion Class Action Suit

It appears that class action lawsuits aimed at the violent nature of football leading to concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, are not limited to the NFL. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) ruled to combine 10 lawsuits against the NCAA, citing that all of the suits were similar enough in nature to combine them into one medical monitoring class action suit.

This began with a suit filed by former Eastern Illinois football player, Adrian Arrington, in September of 2011. In July, the plaintiffs in the case (which also include another football player, a soccer player and an ice hockey player) submitted a motion for a class-action certification. This was backed by expert testimony from a neurosurgeon and an expert on catastrophic sports injuries, and by damaging e-mails from NCAA officials. Following the motion for the class-action certification, other suits were filed around the country, leading to the MDL decision.

Just like in the suit against the NFL, in which more than 1,500 plaintiffs were awarded a $765 million settlement, the athletes are claiming the NCAA withheld information and failed to properly educate the student athletes of the long and short term dangers of concussions and other head injuries.

Amidst a growing national spotlight on the risks of brain injuries, the NCAA changed its rulebook in 2010, mandating schools have concussion protocols in place. However, the NCAA failed to review these plans, and according to the testimony of the NCAA’s director of health and safety, no school had ever been disciplined for not administering or adhering to a concussion management plan.

The main idea behind centralizing these suits is to avoid duplicate discovery phases and inconsistent rulings, while working to preserve the resources of all parties involved. In addition, all of the suits seek answers to the same questions: What did the NCAA know about concussions and the risks involved? Did they fully communicate that knowledge to the schools, coaches and athletes?

Cohen Placitella & Roth PC has distinguished itself as proven leaders in class action litigation, and has won multi-million dollar recoveries in a variety of these suits. We invite you to contact Chris Placitella, Esq., today for a consultation at 888-375-7600 and discuss your case.