Robert Bush 6:31 p.m., May 18
NFL's request to transfer Seau case to federal court denied by judge
Order to stay from U.S. judge holds transfer until outside panel can weigh in on case.
The National Football League wants that the case filed by relatives of Junior Seau to be heard by the federal courts, not the San Diego Superior Court where Seau's surviving relatives originally filed the lawsuit.
The case, filed, on January 31, claims that the National Football League and the maker of football helmets, Riddell Sports Group, concealed the danger of head injuries from repeated blows taken by players on a weekly basis.
Since July 2011, there have been 217 lawsuits filed against the NFL from former players and their families for the similar reasons.
"The Complaint alleges, among other things, that the NFL fraudulently concealed “the risks of head injuries in NFL games and practices, including the risks associated with returning to physical activity too soon after sustaining a sub-concussive or concussive injury,” failed to enact “return-to- play rules consistent with proper medical management of [Mild Traumatic Brain Injury],” and “withheld” from (and ignored the risks to) NFL players of “the kind of repetitive traumatic impacts to the head to which NFL players were exposed.”
Attorneys for the NFL say the case should be moved to the federal courts to ensure that all collective bargaining agreements are considered. Similar motions have been granted in two unrelated cases filed on behalf of former professional football players who suffered from complications caused from repeated head trauma.
"Indeed, two separate district courts considering allegations similar to those alleged here have recently determined that the NFL properly removed complaints brought by former NFL players because resolution of their concussion-related negligence claims was substantially dependent on, and inextricably intertwined with, an analysis of CBA provisions concerning medical care and treatment of NFL players,” reads the motion filed on February 28.
Yet, despite the precedence in other cases, a federal judge ordered that the case not be transferred until a judicial panel can rule on the transfer.
"Pending before the Court is a joint motion to stay the instant proceedings until the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL Panel”) decides whether to transfer the instant case. Having read and considered the moving papers, and good cause appearing, the Court GRANTS the motion and STAYS this matter pending the MDL Panel’s decision."
"The parties are directed to file a status report regarding the transfer of the instant case by June 1, 2013."
Click here to read the legal documents.