Attorneys In Chattanooga NCAA Concussion Case Agree To Mediation; Consolidating With Arrington Case Under Consideration

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Attorneys in the lawsuit filed in Chattanooga Federal Court against the NCAA over concussions have agreed to go to mediation.

Also, an effort is underway to have the case consolidated with the lawsuit filed two years ago in Illinois against the NCAA over the concussion issue by former Eastern Illinois defensive back Adrian Arrington and three others. Plaintiffs in the Chattanooga case are opposing consolidation.

The Arrington case is also headed to mediation.

The plaintiffs in the Chattanooga case and the NCAA have agreed to mediation before retired Federal Judge Layn Phillips on Feb. 18.

He is the same judge expected to handle the mediation in the Arrington case. He presided over the $765 million settlement between the NFL and about some 4,500 ex-NFL players from the NFL Players Association over concussions.

The Chattanooga complaint was filed on Sept. 3 by Chris Walker of Chattanooga, a defensive end for the University of Tennessee 2007-2111; Ben Walker of Knoxville, a defensive end for the University of Tennessee 2007-2111; and Dan Ahern of Pensacola, Fla., an offensive guard for North Carolina State from 1972-1976. 

The day after the Chattanooga case was filed, attorneys in the Arrington case filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation seeking to merge the Chattanooga case with the Arrington litigation.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hear arguments on the request on Dec. 5.

The 29-page Chattanooga suit says the NCAA "has breached its duty to protect college football players in the face of long-standing and overwhelming evidence regarding the need to do so. The NCAA has ignored this duty and profited immensely from its inaction and denial, all to the detriment of the players."

It says the NCAA "has failed to educate its football-playing athletes of the long term, life-altering risks and consequences of head impacts in football. They have failed to establish known protocols to prevent, mitigate, monitor, diagnose and treat brain injuries."

The case is assigned to Judge Curtis Collier and Magistrate Bill Carter.

Attorneys for the NCAA include Roger Dickson, Kyle Eiselstein and Crews Townsend of the local Miller and Martin law firm as well as J. Christian Word of Washington, D.C., and Mark Mester of Chicago.

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