NFL Prevails on Painkiller Lawsuit


With all of the multi-jurisdictional lawsuits currently pending against the professional sports leagues these days by former players, the claims can begin to blur together.  However, the NFL has emerged victorious in a recent lawsuit filed by former players over the administration of painkillers to professional football players by teams.  A court has rejected a proposed class action.


A group of more than 600 ex-NFL players, including household names like Richard Dent and Jim McMahon, had attempted to seek restitution for administration of painkillers and other drugs.  The players alleged that their respective teams handed out painkillers like Percodan, Percocet, and Vicodin, “like they were candy at Halloween.” Players claimed that the league knew about the risks, yet continued to supply the drugs to players, which have now resulted in long-term negative health effects including chronic muscle and joint pain, high blood pressure, and kidney failure.


U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California ruled that the issue concerned collective bargaining by the NFL Players Association, and that the NFL had already addressed concerns by former players, according to Sports Illustrated, “in a serious way” that was “backed up by the enforcement power of the [NFL Players Association] union itself and the players’ right to enforce these benefits.”


While the players’ presumptive class action was rejected, the judge took the player’s allegations very seriously, noting that the ruling did not, “minimize the underlying societal issue.” Sports Illustrated reports that, presumably in connection with the allegations, various professional football teams were raided by Drug Enforcement Agency in surprise inspections for controlled substances.


As in this case, if you have a question about sports or sports law, or you are a professional athlete seeking representation, you need experienced legal counsel.  With more than 35 years of experience representing professional athletes, individuals and businesses in the areas of sports law and business litigation, James J. “Jim” Thomas II is recognized as an expert across Georgia.  If you or your business needs assistance in sports law, business ventures, handling complex business litigation, or in the analysis, evaluation, and resolution of existing and potential litigation in sports law cases, give Jim a call at 404-869-5248 or email him today to set up a consultation.

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