Not that anyone should be surprised but, despite all their early talk about nobly pursuing justice for the injured, that blitz of plaintiffs’ lawyers who rushed to represent clients in the NFL’s concussion litigation have sacked common decency as they greedily look to clip one another and blindside former players and their families, according to ESPN staff writer Mark Fainaru-Wada.
In a story reported yesterday, Fainaru-Wada explained that the “$1 billion NFL concussion settlement — nearly six years in the making yet still to deliver a penny to former players and their families for brain injuries stemming from football — is revealing the underbelly of the legal system to former players and their families.”
One plaintiffs’ lawyer quoted early in the story said the “case has done nothing but show lawyers at their worst,” while another said it’s degenerated into a “feeding frenzy right now.”
Meanwhile, ESPN’s additional interviews with lawyers and wives of former players, along with a review of court records, texts and emails “reveal behind-the-scenes clashes that have ratcheted up concerns from families that the lawyers will be the ones mainly cashing in on player payouts.”
The story goes on to report that two dozen former players’ wives have asked the presiding judge to address concerns about legal fees “cutting heavily into money that was supposed to go [to] their families,” even though the lawyers are eligible to collect from a $112.5 million fund provided by the NFL to pay the lawyers who’ve worked on the case.
Apparently, many of these plaintiffs’ lawyers also have contingency fee agreements with their clients ranging from 15 to 40 percent of their clients’ respective settlement shares. Talk about double dipping!
With money like that on the table, it’s no wonder that lawyers are poaching one another’s clients and slapping liens on properties owned by clients who’ve left them for other lawyers, all while a “virtual cottage industry of opportunist lawyers, doctors, predatory lenders and other professionals has cropped up.”
Before the clock runs out on this unholy mess and players and their families are sacked by parasitic personal injury lawyers, Judge Anita B. Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania should throw a flag and consider ejecting several offenders for unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct.