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Objectors to NFL concussion deal want another court hearing

The fight over the settlement of concussion litigation between the NFL and retired players continued Thursday when objectors asked a federal appeals court for another hearing on the matter.

A three-judge panel from the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia unanimously upheld the deal earlier this month.

Objectors asked the court for an en banc hearing, which would include all active 3rd Circuit judges. Such hearings are rarely granted.

“Appellants, along with many other class members, objected to the settlement on grounds that it improperly releases the unripe CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy] claims for no consideration … and treats similarly situated class members differently based upon an arbitrary deadline for death with CTE claims,” John J. Pentz, an attorney representing nine retired players who object to the settlement, wrote in a petition to the court.

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The deal applies to all former NFL players, regardless of whether they sued, who weren’t among the approximately 200 who opted out.

Ninety-five retired players appealed the settlement. Their concerns included the deal not compensating death from CTE, the degenerative brain disease, following the agreement’s final approval on April 22, 2015.

The argument didn’t sway the three-judge panel.

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In a written statement Thursday, Christopher Seeger, co-lead counsel for the retired players, assailed the request for an en banc hearing.

“This meritless appeal carries devastating consequences for the thousands of retired NFL players suffering from neurocognitive injuries, and those concerned about their future, as they will be forced to wait even longer for the immediate care and support they need,” Seeger said.

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