Judge Refuses To Dismiss Drug Lawsuit Against NFL
More than 1,500 former NFL players are going to get their day in court. The players are alleging that the training staff and NFL teams gave them powerful drugs while employed without telling them about the possible health risks that they would face. This has had a negative impact on the players, the lawsuit claims. This class action lawsuit names a group of plaintiffs along with all 32 teams in the NFL as the defendants for the case.
William Alsup, a federal judge in the Northern District of California, is allowing the trial to begin with discovery. The NFL filed a motion to dismiss the players’ lawsuit and Alsup denied it. Alsup is not new to NFL lawsuits. Just two years ago in 2014 he dismissed a similar lawsuit involving former Chicago Bear Richard Dent as one of the plaintiffs in the case.
He decided that those claims would be more appropriately settled with the collective bargaining agreement. The plaintiffs appealed and the case is still going.
This new lawsuit was originally filed across the country in Baltimore, MD but ended up getting transferred back to Alsup in California because the case was so closely related to the 2014 case. This lawsuit, filed in May of 2015, names each of the NFL’s 32 teams along with 13 plaintiffs. One being the widow of Chuck Evans, Etopia Evans, who died at the age of 41 from heart failure. He was a Ravens and Vikings fullback during his career.
A key difference between the two lawsuits is that the new one doesn’t claim that the NFL was negligent, but intentional, which makes it illegal and more appropriate for the courts to handle. The players stated that they were often given painkillers in order to hide injuries and pain so they could resume playing football before they were properly healed. The painkillers were handed out without any documentation of a prescription or a physical being conducted before the medications were distributed.
Players were not properly advised of the potential side effects of these painkillers before they were given to them. The painkillers and strong drugs were pushed onto the players and they were heavily pressured to take them.
When asked about potential side effects, the players state that the trainers and doctors for the clubs gave various answers including “don’t worry about them” and “they are good for you,” while being warned that injections may cause bruising. Alsup called these claims “well-pled facts” for the claim. He also included that “these answers misrepresented the actual health dangers posed by these drugs.”
The lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Steve Silverman, was happy with the decision and stated that “the court has opened the doors of justice for those players who were illegally drugged, used, abused and discarded by NFL teams.” He also added that the NFL would be responsible to explain where the painkillers originated from, how they were able to buy them in bulk and why they don’t have any records of physical exams or prescriptions for the majority of the players.
Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the NFL, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Mark Sadaka from Pharma Watch Dog, the leading Hazardous Chemical Attorney, has a national practice and works with clients from New York to Alaska.