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Afternoon Briefs: Judge orders negotiation on 'race-norming’ claim in NFL case; judiciary considers amicus disclosure

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Judge tosses challenge to ‘race-norming’ in dementia tests

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has dismissed a lawsuit challenging “race-norming” in dementia tests used to determine which retired NFL players qualify for compensation in a concussion settlement. Brody said the league and the class counsel in the $1 billion settlement should resolve the issue by negotiation. That apparently cuts out the lawyer who sued for Black players, who say the testing assumes that Black athletes have lower cognitive functioning than their white counterparts. That baseline requires Black athletes to show a greater cognitive decline to qualify for compensation. (ABC News, the Associated Press)

Judiciary considers tougher amicus disclosure rules

Proposed legislation to require better disclosure of funding used in the preparation of amicus briefs has led the federal courts to create a subcommittee to review the issues. U.S. District Judge John Bates of the District of Columbia disclosed the move in response to a letter from two Democratic lawmakers who sponsored the bill, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia. Whitehouse and Johnson contend that the courts narrowly read disclosure rules in a way that effectively allows all amicus funders to remain anonymous. (Law360, Whitehouse’s press release, letters here and here)

Lawyer suspended after guilty plea in $2M theft

Lawyer Brian Matthew Wiggins, 37, of Dayton, Ohio, was suspended from law practice Monday following his guilty plea last month to stealing more than $2 million from estates and trusts, including an estate that was intended to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Wiggins was accused of spending stolen money on his wife’s breast implants, child support, a house, a boat, a Mercedes, jewelry and ATM withdrawals at casinos. He pleaded guilty to 16 charges in the case last month. (Ohio Supreme Court order, the Butler County Journal-News)

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