Blog

NFL Common Benefit Fees vs Individual Case Fees

As the NFL case progresses, we regularly receive questions from retired players and their families about how lawyers in the case are being paid.  There has been a lot of confusion.

 

Sometimes the confusion stems directly from the Concussion Settlement website, which states that lawyers shall be paid by the NFL fund for COMMON BENEFIT FEES, none of which have been awarded.  Strangely, the website never mentions Contracts (that is, the retention agreements).  Other times, the confusion is created by lawyers new to the case or other people without experience in Multi-District Litigation (“MDL”), and they have come to a conclusion that is not well-informed.

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New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Defendant Waived Right to Arbitration

Last week the New Jersey Supreme Court decided the case of Roach v. BM Motoring LLC, which Andrew Bell of the Locks Law Firm argued on behalf of amicus curiae The Consumers League of New Jersey (Andrew Bell, James Barry, and Michael Galpern on the brief).

Roach involved a consumer case arising out of fraud in the sale of two automobiles (one to each named plaintiff).  The contract for sale for both vehicles contained an arbitration clause which provided for the arbitration of “any and all claims, disputes or issues” and specified that the arbitration would be in accordance with the rules of the AAA and before a single arbitrator, who shall be a retired judge or attorney.  Plaintiffs filed arbitration claims with the AAA against the dealer.  The Dealer failed to pay the required arbitration fees in either case or otherwise respond, and the AAA declined to administer the claims due to the non-payment.  Plaintiffs then filed a joint complaint in the Law Division, and Defendant filed a motion to dismiss in favor of arbitration.  Defendants argued that the AAA was not an appropriate forum for the arbitration due to its excessive fees, and therefore the Plaintiffs’ demands for arbitration didn’t comport with the arbitration agreement.

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Science and Medical Research Big Losers In Trump Proposed Budget

Yesterday the Trump led Republican administration released its "Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again" which, in the words of Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was crafted in part by looking at Trump’s speeches and media interviews.  Mulvaney said “You’ll see reductions exactly where you would expect it from a president who just ran on an ‘America First’ campaign.  If he said it on the campaign, it’s in the budget.”

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NFL Updated Regarding the 5% Holdback Notice

This past Monday, all former NFL players received a notice from the court regarding the opportunity to object to the petition for Attorneys’ fees, costs and holdbacks on awards.  We wanted to make sure that clients of Locks Law Firm knew that this 5% holdback (“…to provide future common benefit fees for attorneys who do work to facilitate the Settlement…”) is NOT in addition to the retainer fees.  As you should know, our retainer agreement with you is 20%.  The 5% would come out of the 20% already allocated in the retainer agreement.  In essence, if the court approves this fee, it means Locks Law Firm will get less money, not you.

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STÖCKERT 3T HEATER-COOLER DEVICES

Last October the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sent a letter to hospitals throughout the United States alerting them to a potential serious health hazard related to open-chest cardiac surgeries performed in the hospitals.  Specifically, the CDC notified hospitals that a device known as a Stöckert 3T Heater-Cooler which was manufactured by a company in Germany called LivaNova and shipped to the United States could have contamination which originated in the equipment when it was manufactured in the factory in Germany.

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EPA Update

President Trump is expected to sign executive orders scaling back the EPA’s climate change and enforcement work, but is reportedly waiting until after his nominee for EPA Chief, Scott Pruitt is confirmed by the Senate.

 

EPA insiders report that Trump is looking to close the EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance Office (OECA) which would significantly reduce civil enforcement of EPA’s orders and mandates.  If accomplished, this action would essentially mirror the tack that Scott Pruitt took in 2011 in trying to close Oklahoma’s Environmental Protection Unit.  When EPA was first formed in 1970 it did not have an independent enforcement arm.  Before EPA’s creation, enforcement was primarily left to the states. The OECA was created in the early 1990’s to centralize reporting and enforcement in a single department of the EPA.  EPA created OECA from the Office of Enforcement & Compliance Monitoring (OECM), which, the source familiar with the plan says, did not identify enforcement cases but acted as more of a vessel to raise cross-cutting issues such as inspections, civil penalty policies, media-related information and contracts. It was only after OECA was formed that enforcement was centralized with consistent messaging from headquarters on priorities and other matters.

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NFL Concussion Settlement – Registration Open

As of Monday, February 06, 2017, registration opened for the NFL Concussion Settlement.  All Settlement Class Members must register with the Claims Administrator in order to be eligible for the benefits as outlined in the settlement.  Settlement Class Members include Retired NFL Football Players, Representative Claimants who have a legal right to act on behalf of the Retired NFL Football Player (i.e. Power of Attorney or Administrators of Estates), and Derivative Claimants who have certain legal rights because of their relationship with a Retired NFL Football Player.

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The Stigma of Mental Health Issues

“The Stigma is real and incredibly damaging for depression, anxiety, panic attacks, ptsd and suicide. Millions of us suffer daily, yet we have been taught through shame that we don't talk about it. Mental Health challenges are commonly caused by either brain chemistry issues and/or experienced trauma. Both of which we normally have little control over. If you have struggled, you are not weak, or lack character. The exact opposite is true. We get up everyday and fight and struggle. We courageously deal with these challenges in all aspects of our life. We must change the perception of ourselves. If you are struggling right now, you are not alone. You are brave and courageous. Make sure you know that. #stopthestigma#strengthinnumbers”

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Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

 

Yesterday we celebrated the life of one of our Nation’s greatest visionaries.  Many of us went to church services and together with friends and family offered prayers, praise and song to his memory.  Others of us revisited his teachings by reading, again, his speeches and quotes.  Still others, longing for a return to his powerful oratory that sprung from his deep faith in the essential good of humanity---and his unshakeable faith that one day our Nation, and the world, would wake up to the racial and economic injustice plaguing it and by so seeing it, end it---may have watched some of his speeches preserved for our viewing.  Some may have watched for the first time, others for the hundredth.  And after a long and tortured course, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was finally granted federal recognition as a holiday, permitting those businesses offering non-essential services to close in honor of this man.

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The American Law Institute

Many of my clients, after they have read the biographies of myself and the other lawyers in the Locks Law Firm on our website, have asked me to explain to them the meaning of my membership in the American Law Institute. The American Law Institute was founded in 1923 because of the perception at that time that American common law was uncertain and complex. A group of judges, lawyers, and professors recommended that an organization should be formed to improve the law and its administration. The American Law Institute (ALI) was created as a response to that recommendation. The mission statement of the ALI is “to promote the clarification and simplification of the law and its better adaptation to social needs, to secure the better administration of justice, and to encourage and carry on scholarly and scientific legal work.”

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