Former National Football League players, who claim they have developed mental or physical problems from concussions suffered while playing professional football, have filed lawsuits against the league for allegedly concealing the risks associated with head injuries.
On April 13, Michael Brooks, Harold Bishop, Ronnie Halliburton, Liffort Hobley, Justin Vincent, Corey Raymond and Shawn King filed a class action against the National Football League, Riddell Inc., doing business as Riddell Sports Group Inc., All American Sports Corp. doing business as Riddell/All American and Riddell Sports Group Inc. in federal court in New Orleans.
Another lawsuit was filed on April 23 in federal court there with named plaintiffs including Rickey Jackson, Gary and Karen Barbaro, Brett and Cheri Bech, Corey and Farrah Dixon, Vaugh and Shirley Johnson, Keith and Afton Joseph, Percy and Annette Keith, Derrick and Noel Lewis, Frank and Dana Lockett, Tommy and Susan McCleskey Jr., Richard and Katherine Jackson, and Jimmy and Tanya Spencer.
The next day, the Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont filed suit on behalf of 31 players in the Southern District of Texas Houston Division.
Some of the more familiar names in the Houston suits include Dallas Cowboys players Bob Lilly and Randy White. The other Texas plaintiffs are Lee Roy JOrdan, Rayfield Wright, Ralph Neely, Charles Howley, Larry Cole, Charles Waters, Donny Anderson, Ronald Brown, James Colvin, Mike Connelly, Reginald Doss, John Fitzgerald, Walt Garrison, Gary Hammond, Harold Hays, David Hill, Anthony Miller, James Montgomery, Tyrone Montgomery, Preston Pearson, James Smith, Diron Talbert, Don Talbert, Malcolm Walker, Jerry Broadnax, Jerry Norton, Donald Mcllheny, Angelo King and Marlene Tubbs as next friend of Gerald Tubbs.
The suits claim to represent all NFL football players and the spouses of the players who sustained one or more concussions or suffered concussion like symptoms and mental or physical problems as a result of injuries.
The players accuse the NFL of misrepresenting and concealing medical evidence regarding the risks associated with concussions for approximately 16 years. The former players say that multiple concussions can cause severe mental problems such as depression and early-onset dementia and physical problems including brain degeneration.
Some of the suits also name helmet maker Riddell as a defendant.
Causes of action filed against the NFL and Riddell include negligence, fraud, fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation and conspiracy.
The plaintiffs in the Louisiana suits are asking for more than $5 million for general and compensatory damages, special damages, punitive damages, interest, court costs and attorney's fees.
The Brooks plaintiffs (Case No. 2:12-cv-00941) are represented by Lafayette attorney Derriel C. McCorvey, W. James Singleton of The Singleton Law Firm in Shreveport, Vance R. Andrus of Andrus Hood & Wagstaff in Denver, Colorado, and Mike Espy of Jackson, Mississippi.
The Jackson plaintiffs (Case No. 2:12-cv-01034) are represented by James R. Dugan II, Douglas R. Plymale, David Franco and Kevin Oufnac of The Dugan Law Firm in New Orleans.
Provost Umphrey attorneys Walter Umphrey, Jacqueline Ryall and Matthew Matheny are representing the Texas plaintiffs (Case No. 4:12-cv-01296).
The lawsuits are expected to be consolidated with similar class action lawsuits filed last year in Philadelphia. More than 60 suits have been filed so far.