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Seven former NFL players have asked an appeals court to block the proposed concussion settlement between the league and more than 4,500 retirees, saying the deal does not adequately address the needs of all players.
The group raised similar objections to the plan days before a federal judge in Philadelphia preliminarily approved it this month.
The seven players' plea on Monday for intervention seeks to circumvent a process laid out by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody for registering formal opposition to the settlement plan.
In filings before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, lawyers for players argued that the current proposal unfairly favors players with certain neurocognitive disorders like Parkinson's or Lou Gehrig's disease, while cutting out those who so far have only shown limited symptoms of brain injury.
They noted that players posthumously diagnosed with C.T.E., a brain disease similar to Alzheimer's, could receive up to $4 million under the plan, while anyone whose disease is diagnosed after the settlement process is complete would be ineligible.
Brody has scheduled a fairness hearing in November for players and their lawyers to raise objections to the plan. She could then order the parties to fine-tune the proposal or could grant final approval as is.
Lawyers for the seven players argued that "time is of the essence," and said they hoped to avoid delays of over a year if the process is allowed to take its course.
In a statement, Christopher Seeger, colead counsel for the lawyers who negotiated the deal, called the seven players' petition "entirely without merit."
"It only serves to confuse and obscure the tremendous benefits retired players will receive if this settlement is approved by the court," he said.