Steve Chapman on pro football litigation

by Walter Olson on February 2, 2013

As I’ve been saying for a while, if the logic of other mass tort litigation is to carry over to suits over traumatic brain damage from pro football, it’s by no means clear how the organized sport can make it through the coming wave of litigation other than by turning itself into a very different game. Chicago Tribune-based syndicated columnist Steve Chapman gives me a chance to outline some of the reasons why, including the high likely damages, pressure to draw in peripheral parties and defendants such as doctors and equipment makers, and difficulties in relying on an assumption of risk defense [Washington Examiner] Background on risks for school-age players: WSJ.

P.S. Some more stirrings on the prevention and diagnosis front. A contrasting view from Max Kennerly. And discussion by Andrew Sullivan and readers, “Is Big Football the Next Big Tobacco?”

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02.05.13 at 7:30 am

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1 William Nuesslein 02.02.13 at 8:53 am

A jury found asbestos to be the cause of a man’s cancer in New Jersey. The asbestos was in the brake material in a box in a warehouse. Somehow it broke lose and settled as dust on top of the box.

Thus plantiffs’ lawyers will score billions and football nothing. The game itself has to be banned.

Let’s pray that fans rise up and stop this nonsense. I have no hope for asbestos though.

2 AMcA 02.04.13 at 12:59 pm

See Fran Tarkinton’s piece in the WSJ recently. He suggests maybe steroid abuse is the problem, and notes the ever increasing size of the players. 300 pounders were once unheard of, now they’re common. Getting hit by 300 pounds of linebacker vs. getting nailed by a guy who weighs 225, that’s a big deal.

He also notes how recently retired football greats tend to look physically smaller after a year out of the game. Hmmmm . . . .

3 wfjag 02.05.13 at 10:33 am

“suits over traumatic brain damage from pro football”

Why wouldn’t such suits be barred by the standard workers’ comp exclusive remedy bar to tort suits?

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