Attorney Jay Edelson, who represents former San Diego State football player Anthony Nichols as a plaintiff, filed a motion Monday claiming the lead attorneys in the case have abandoned personal-injury claims for the class.
An attorney who opposes the NCAA’s proposed class-action concussion settlement is trying again to become lead counsel for the case's personal-injury claims now that a judge initially denied the $75 million settlement.
Attorney Jay Edelson, who represents former San Diego State football player Anthony Nichols as a plaintiff, filed a motion Monday claiming the lead attorneys in the case have abandoned personal-injury claims for the class. U.S. District Judge John Lee previously denied Edelson’s attempt to be co-lead counsel, but noted his application could be revisited as the case proceeds.
Edelson argues circumstances have changed because Steve Berman and Joseph Siprut, the lead attorneys for the Adrian Arrington plaintiffs, removed a request for damages in their latest amended complaint. Edelson’s motion includes an affidavit of support from Ramogi Huma, founder of the National College Players Association (NCPA) and College Athletes Players Association (CAPA).
The legal maneuvering is another obstacle the NCAA faces as it tries to broadly settle litigation over how the association has handled concussions. Edelson has said he will soon file class-action lawsuits against individual universities.
Lee denied preliminary approval of the settlement in December and encouraged the parties to continue discussions to address his concerns. The settlement called for a $70 million fund to test thousands of current and former athletes, put aside $5 million for research, and change guidelines for medical care moving forward.
The settlement would cover only diagnostic medical expenses, not actual treatment -- a criticism that Edelson and Huma share of the proposed deal. Huma oversees two player-advocacy groups, including CAPA, the labor organization that is trying to form player unions. Support from the NCPA and CAPA is Edelson’s attempt to cut into Berman’s past claim that only a small number of class members oppose the settlement.
“In cases of this significance, there needs to be a strong voice representing and advocating for the class personal injury claims,” Huma said in an affidavit. “Critically, that voice needs to actually believe in those claims. Edelson has been the lead voice on behalf of the class personal injury claims.”
Berman said circumstances have not changed and that this is Edelson’s third attempt to oversee personal injury claim, with each attempt "more desperate than the last.”
“Edelson claimed that medical monitoring was worthless. Judge Lee disagrees and has sent us to do homework for example to have more testing centers not none,” Berman wrote in an email. “And Edelson claims are rebutted by 2 former federal judges and (Dr. Robert Cantu). He has no expert on his claim.
“Edelson claims we left billions on the table. We proved (this) was nonsense that there are few cases out there and all are serious enough that no one would bring (it) as a class. Edelson claims there is a need for a (personal) injury class yet his own client (couldn’t) be a class rep because he doesn’t suffer from any concussion injury by his own admission.”