Today: 14-04-2024

Navigating the Legal Arena: Thrivest's Unsuccessful Challenge on NFL Concussion Payouts

On October 27, litigation funder Thrivest Specialty, now operating as Balanced Bridge Funding, faced a setback as the U.S. appeals court rejected its attempt to modify the distribution mechanism for the National Football League's (NFL) landmark $1 billion settlement for concussion-related injuries. The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, declined to review the 2022 trial court ruling that Thrivest contested.

Thrivest had argued that the existing rules were hindering its arrangements with players seeking cash advances linked to anticipated settlement payments. Specifically, the litigation funder sought to eliminate a rule allowing players with financing agreements to directly receive payments rather than going through their attorneys. The appeals panel, however, asserted it lacked the authority to intervene in the dispute.

The court highlighted Thrivest's challenges in collecting owed money from players involved in the class action. Notably, instances were cited where a class member failed to repay Thrivest after receiving a direct payment. Thrivest, known for advancing funds to litigants in exchange for a portion of future settlements, has faced difficulties within the NFL concussion settlement framework.

The NFL's settlement, approved by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in 2015, allocates payments of up to $5 million to eligible players diagnosed with specific neurological disorders resulting from their professional football careers. Thrivest's appeal posed a broader question about the authority of district courts over third parties in administering class-action settlements, a contention dismissed by the appeals panel.

Peter Buckley of Fox Rothschild, an attorney for Thrivest, did not immediately comment on the decision, and Thrivest itself did not respond to requests for comment. On the other hand, Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss, representing the class, welcomed the court's decision, emphasizing that Thrivest should not redirect monetary awards away from former NFL players. The ruling underscores the ongoing complexities and disputes surrounding concussion-related settlements within the sports industry.

"The rules simply distribute funds in a particular way: directly to class members instead of through counsel," asserted Circuit Judge Julio Fuentes in response to litigation funder Thrivest Specialty's bid to modify the distribution dynamics of the National Football League's (NFL) $1 billion settlement for concussion-related injuries. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, upheld the trial court ruling, emphasizing that Thrivest can pursue collection actions post-distribution.

The case, titled In re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, highlights the ongoing legal intricacies surrounding the NFL's settlement. Thrivest Specialty was represented by Peter Buckley of Fox Rothschild, while Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss represented the settlement class.

As this legal saga unfolds, it underscores the nuanced challenges and debates within the framework of concussion-related settlements in professional sports. For more updates on legal news, subscribe to The Daily Docket for a comprehensive briefing delivered directly to your inbox.

In conclusion, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' rejection of Thrivest Specialty's attempt to alter the distribution mechanism of the NFL's concussion settlement underscores the significance of adhering to established rules. Circuit Judge Julio Fuentes emphasized that the existing rules, directing funds directly to class members instead of through counsel, are to be maintained. The decision affirms that Thrivest retains the option to pursue collection actions post-distribution.

This legal development underscores the ongoing complexities and debates surrounding concussion-related settlements in the sports industry, particularly within the realm of professional football. As the case, titled In re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, moves forward, it serves as a reminder of the nuanced challenges within class-action settlements and the careful balance required in administering such high-profile agreements. For continued updates on legal matters, readers can subscribe to The Daily Docket for timely and comprehensive briefings delivered straight to their inbox.