Court Rejects NFL Team’s Preemption Argument
A significant victory was won today on behalf of our clients and all employees of Missouri. We are one step closer to obtaining justice for players that are suffering from cognitive injuries due to the ongoing denial and cover up by the NFL and its members clubs. The Court, in effect, determined that professional-sport teams are not immune from liability.
On May 14, 2014, Chief Judge Catherine Perry issued an Order remanding Green, et al v. Arizona Cardinals Football Club, LLC, 4:14-cv-00461-CDP (E.D. Mo.) (“Green”), to the Circuit Court for the St. Louis, Missouri, from which it was removed. Doc. #33, 4:14-cv-00461-CDP. The District Court denied defendant’s motion to stay proceedings and remanded Green over the defendant’s objections.
In Green, the Court held that the players’ claims were neither created by nor require the interpretation of a CBA. Id, at p. 13. As for the negligence claim, the Court held as follows:
“Unlike the negligence claim in Gore [v. Trans World Airlines, 210 F.3d 944 (8th Cir. 2000)], here the duties arise out of the common law based upon the employer-employee relationship and not out of any particular terms in the CBAs. The reasonableness of the Team’s actions towards [Plaintiff] Scott cannot depend upon an interpretation of a CBA, as Scott was never bound by the contract. It stands to reason, then, that the other plaintiffs’ negligence claims do not necessarily depend upon an interpretation of the CBAs, so far as the duties owed them and the standards applied to their claims derive from the same source as for Scott.” Id. at p.
As for the negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment claims, the District Court held that, “[a]s with their negligence claims, the plaintiffs’ negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment actions arise independent of the CBAs as a function of the common law and thus are not preempted.” Id. at pp. 16-17.
“Because the plaintiffs’ claims can be determined without interpreting the CBAS,” the Court stated, “I do not have subject-matter jurisdiction over this case.” Id.
Mike Florio, of ProFootballTalk.com, breaks down the ruling further,
The primary concussion litigation, with more than 4,000 plaintiffs, resulted in a proposed nationwide settlement before the question could be resolved as to whether the cases should be kicked out of court. Now, via NFLConcussionLitigation.com, one of the other concussion cases has survived the NFL’s effort to deliver an early knockout punch.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, in a case brought by receiver Roy Green (pictured) and other former members of the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals, concluded that the lawsuit may proceed in Missouri state court. Which means that the discovery process will proceed.
One result of this ruling – the public will no longer be denied the right to learn what the football industry has concealed from, and misrepresented to, society.
Which means that the NFL has moved closer to the day on which it will have to disclose what it knew and when it knew it about the long-term risks of concussions.
And the impact it could have on the pending NFL concussion litigation.
The outcome also could result in the plaintiffs in the settled case to quit trying to persuade Judge Anita Brody to approve the settlement, opting instead to proceed with the litigation. If the players in that case secure the same victory Roy Green and others have realized in Missouri, the value of the claims would potentially skyrocket.
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