[originally published 4/13/12, and reposted to keep the site’s archive intact following transfer to a new web host]
In the, ahem, “epidemic” of concussion lawsuits by retired pro football players – I believe 54 of them at last count, representing more than 1,000 plaintiffs – I counsel smart observers to look past the obvious angles. Like the tobacco industry, the National Football League’s owners, with their licenses to print cash, can afford to take the eventual $3 billion or $4 billion or $5 billion hit from this, and move on.
The lawsuits throughout Football America, in the Pop Warner and high school leagues? That’s a different story, I believe.
A new development involves another interesting angle: following the trail and pace of the rats deserting the ship. The helmet manufacturer Riddell, Inc., a defendant in all the major concussion suits, is now a plaintiff – screaming foul against the insurance carriers who are washing their hands. In a filing yesterday in California Superior Court, Riddell and its partners ask for declaratory relief for the failure of their insurance companies “to satisfy their contractual obligations to defend and indemnify Plaintiffs against lawsuits filed by present and former professional football players alleging long-term neurological injuries caused in part by football helmets allegedly designed, developed, assembled, and sold by Plaintiffs.”