NCAA agrees to $70 million class action settlement

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 4, 2014

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - The NCAA has reached a preliminary settlement in a multidistrict litigation class action lawsuit involving former college athletes and head-injury policies.

Pursuant to the terms and conditions on the agreement, the NCAA agrees to pay $70 million, according to the class action settlement agreement and release filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Certain NCAA insurers have agreed to pay a portion of the settlement amount. However, if those insurers fail to pay that agreed-upon portion prior to the effective date, the NCAA will have the option to terminate the settlement agreement, according to the agreement.

"The NCAA's payment of the settlement amount shall be 'ALL-IN' and in full satisfaction of all settlement costs, including costs to fund the medical monitoring program, notice and administrative costs, the costs of the medical science committee, attorneys' fees and expenses and service awards," the agreement states.

The settlement provides a $70 million medical monitoring fund and new national protocol for head injuries sustained by players during games and practices. The settlement does not provide financial compensation for injuries, but allows individuals players to sue for damages.

The settlement would give former college athletes a chance to receive a neurological screening to examine brain functions and any signs of brain damage, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a degenerative brain disease.

Under the settlement, the NCAA will also prevent athletes who have sustained a concussion from returning to a game or practice that day. Trained medical personnel will be required at all contact sports events like football, lacrosse, basketball, soccer and wrestling.

The class counsel will apply to the court for an award of attorneys' fees and expenses from the medical monitoring fund not to exceed $15 million in fees and up to $750,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.

Former college athletes filed the class action lawsuits against the NCAA beginning in 2011. In 2013, the cases were moved to multidistrict litigation court.

The plaintiffs are represented by Katrina Carroll of Lite DePalma Greenberg LLC; Robert M. Foote of Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil LLC; William T. Gibbs and Philip Harnett Corboy Jr. of Corboy & Demetrio; David Freydin and Timothy A. Scott of the Law Offices of David Freydin Ltd.; John Barton Goplerud of Hudson Mallaney Shindler & Anderson PC; Thomas E. Ahlering, Elizabeth A. Fegan, Daniel J. Kurowski, Nicholas J. Styant-Browne and Steve W. Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, LLP; Gregg Michael Barbakoff, Aleksandra M.S. Vold and Joseph Jeremy Siprut of Siprut PC; Jay Edelson od Edelson PC; and Steven Lezell Woodrow of Edelson LLC.

The NCAA is represented by Sean M. Berkowitz, Mark S. Mester, Johanna Margaret Spellman, Katherine S. Walton and Christian Word of Latham & Watkins LLP; and B. John Casey of K&L Gates.

The case is assigned to District Judge John Z. Lee.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Multidistrict litigation case number: 2492

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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