The NHL announced Monday they have reached a tentative settlement with over 100 former players in a concussion lawsuit that spanned over five years.
In November of 2013, over 100 former players (318 plaintiffs) brought the suit forth to the NHL, alleging the league did not do enough to warn players of the dangers of repeated head trauma and how to handle injuries to the head during their playing careers. In a statement released by the NHL, they announced the potential settlement had been reached after months of battling through court-ordered mediation. They made the following statement on the league's website:
“The NHL does not acknowledge any liability for any of Plaintiffs’ claims in these cases. However, the parties agree that the settlement is a fair and reasonable resolution and that it is in the parties’ respective best interests to receive the benefits of the settlement and to avoid the burden, risk and expense of further litigation.”
The settlement was broken into six subparts but the total cannot exceed $18.922 million.
For those players who choose to accept the settlement, they'll have access to neuropsychological testing funded by the NHL, up to $75,000 in medical treatment expenses for each person who tests positive on two or more of 13 cognitive/behavorial assessment exams, total cash payments of $6.996 million, broken down to $22,000 per individual and waived attorney fees ($6.95 million total). Those who don't accept the settlement can separately pursue personal injury claims.
In addition, players included and not included in the lawsuit but who have additional needs can access a "common good" fund, into which more than $2.5 million was deposited.
If not enough players choose to accept the deal, the NHL has retained “walkaway rights", but plaintiff lawyer Charles Zimmerman suggests that the players and the league would want to settle, saying, “I’m very pleased that we could accomplish something for the betterment of the players and the betterment of the game,” on Monday morning. “That was our goal and I think we achieved our goal.”