My partner, Shana De Caro and I are honored to have submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) to the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the NFL concussion litigation explaining the science of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and the misconceptions inherent and relied upon by the District Court in the settlement agreement.
We hope that the information and authorities we have provided will assist the Court in reexamining the settlement terms in proper context and set the agreement aside in the interest of all retired NFL football players who have sustained brain injury.
Founded in 1980, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is the oldest, largest, non-profit, nationwide brain injury, advocacy organization. As the leading advocate for all victims of brain injuries, BIAA has an interest in ensuring this settlement fairly considers all brain-injured players for whose benefit this action was commenced. BIAA seeks to provide the Court with unbiased, accurate information regarding consequences of traumatic brain injury and protect the integrity of traumatic brain injury scientific research.
From the amicus brief submitted on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America:
“The settlement neither recognizes nor compensates the majority of players suffering long-term consequences of brain trauma, but merely rewards certain, small, discrete groups. The vast majority of retired football players experiencing physical, emotional, and behavioral impairments following repetitive concussions remain excluded and uncompensated under settlement terms. In the interest of expediency, the District Court relied on self-serving submissions of counsel, which unjustifiably categorized the vast majority of brain injuries as not being “serious” or unrelated to repetitive head trauma, ignoring the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the causes and ramifications of traumatic brain injury.”
“The settlement, as approved by the District Court, is faulty in many respects, including but not limited to : 1- failure to consider subtle differences and distinctions of developing brain damage not immediately apparent; 2- omission of mild brain injury; 3- failure to compensate recognized physical, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive sequelae of concussion; 4- exclusion of well-recognized categories of presumptive brain injury; 5- failure to provide meaningful benefits for cognitive impairment; 6- arbitrary compensation distinctions based upon years of play and age; 7- implicit disregard of overwhelming medical evidence that one concussion can precipitate life-long consequences; 8- an illusory benefit failing to account for required Medicare and Medicaid lien offsets; 9- insurmountable neuropsychological testing criteria; 10- ignoring physical, emotional, and behavioral impairment undetectable by the settlement’s testing protocol; 11- overemphasis on malingering tests; and 12- failure to consider alternate testing modalities, such as diagnostic imaging.”
Shana De Caro, Esq. is a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America and immediate past chair of the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group. Michael V. Kaplen, Esq. is a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School teaching the only course on traumatic brain injury law in any US law school and past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State.
Shana and Michael are partners in the New York personal injury law firm, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP