Law Firms

Law firms and doctors aided fraudulent claimants in $1B concussion settlement, NFL alleges

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The NFL claims in a motion filed Friday that a special investigator should be appointed to stop the “widespread fraud” in claims filed under the $1 billion concussion settlement.

The motion says an independent administrator has already rejected more than 400 claims as fraudulent, “including all claims submitted by a certain law firm.” The denied claims amount to 23 percent of the total claims filed. About 230 claims remain in audit for possible fraud, many of them selected because of red flags. The Wall Street Journal broke the news. USA Today and the New York Times followed with reports.

The motion, filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleges fraud by retired players and doctors, as well as lawyers.

According to the motion, one law firm coached players how to answer questions in their evaluations. The firm “directed at least one retired player to show up for his evaluation hung over and on Valium” to make it appear he had cognitive impairment, the motion alleges.

Another law firm presented Alzheimer’s diagnoses for players who were as young as their 30s and 40s, the motion said. Virtually all of the law firm’s claimants who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s had been evaluated by a pediatric neurologist. That doctor made an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 75 percent of the players evaluated.

The motion also says many players “traveled long distances to be evaluated by self-selected medical professionals, likely identified by their lawyers, and, upon receiving purported diagnoses of Alzheimer’s or dementia, did not even seek follow-up medical treatment.”

The motion follows accusations that the NFL was slow in paying claims. Though an independent firm decides claims, the NFL has the right to appeal, and it has done so in 10 percent of the cases.

“Ironically,” the NFL motion says, “some of the lawyers who are complaining most vociferously and publicly about the slow pace of claims administration are themselves associated with the submission of questionable claims and the true cause of the delay.”

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