US panel mulls merge of NFL concussion suits

By Curt Anderson

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 26 2012 1:16 p.m. MST

MIAMI — An attorney for the NFL says former players should not be allowed to sue for damages over concussions they suffered because player safety issues are governed by the league's collective bargaining agreement.

NFL lawyer Beth Wilkinson said Thursday there are now 21 lawsuits filed in six states by more than 300 former players over head injuries. Some players are also suing helmet maker Riddell.

A federal judicial panel held a hearing in Miami on whether to consolidate the lawsuits before a single judge for pretrial matters. The leading choice is a judge in Philadelphia, where the first lawsuit was filed.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation typically issues decisions within a few weeks

Plaintiffs include former stars Ottis Anderson, Mark Duper, Tony Dorsett, Jim McMahon, Lem Barney and others.

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