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5 Concussion Litig. Rep. [1] (2016-2017)

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July 2016, Vol. 5, No. 1

Timely reporting on developments and legal strategies at the intersection of sports and concussions-
articles that benefit practicing attorneys who may be pursuing a claim or defending a client.

Contents


     The Hypocrisy of AIG's Decision to Stop Insuring NFL Players against Head Trauma
      while Sponsoring Concussion Causing Sports
     While Sympathetic to Concussed Athlete, Judge Sides with District and Coach
     Plaintiff Fails to Show USA Water Polo Was Negligent in Concussion Case
     Forget Football. More Than a Third of Water Polo Players Report Concussions

     College Athletes Sue over Concussions, Part Deux
     Court: Youth Football Organization's Claim Against Riddell Can Continue
     School District, Coach Counter Plaintiff's Negligence Argument in Concussion Case


The Hypocrisy of AIG's Decision to Stop Insuring NFL Players
against Head Trauma while Sponsoring Concussion Causing Sports
By Richard C. Giller, Esq.

Over the past several months a number of legal and business decisions have converged at the
intersection of sports and insurance. On June 12, the New York Post reported that insurance giant
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) had stopped insuring NFL players against head injuries as
the dangers of concussions became apparent even though it continues to play up its ties to the
game. The Post article came just six weeks after the April 29 court order to lift the stay on discovery
that had been in place in the insurance coverage litigation between the NFL and its insurers, like AIG,
issued by New York State Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey K. Oing. In that case, which has been
pending for over 4 years, AIG and other insurers contend that they do not owe any duty to either
defend or indemnify the NFL against claims asserted against the League by retired players claiming
the NFL knew about and covered up the dangers of concussions in football. Justice Oing ruled that
the NFL must make available to insurance companies its executives and league doctors for
depositions as well as producing relevant documents concerning what the NFL knew about
concussion risks and for how long those risks were known. Justice Oing is quoted as having said: I
can't stop this anymore.

The NFL had previously argued against lifting the discovery stay, claiming that allowing depositions
and written discovery to go forward might jeopardize the approximately $900 million settlement
between the NFL and thousands of retired players. The timing of Judge Oing's ruling may not be
coincidental because earlier in April, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit had
upheld a lower court ruling that the settlement was fair despite being far from perfect and, in so doing,
may have neutered the NFL's prejudice argument.

Finally, in March 2016, the Pennsylvania-based youth football organization Pop Warner, settled a
wrongful death lawsuit filed in Wisconsin by the mother of a man who committed suicide, allegedly as
a result of numerous head injuries he suffered playing in a Pop Warner football league as a child.
According to the New York Post, the Pop Warner case was settled for less than the $2 million limits
of a liability insurance policy issued to the youth football organization by Lexington Insurance
Company, an AIG company. The newspaper also reported that AIG stopped insuring Pop Warner a
few years ago as the NFL's concussion crisis trickled down to the high school level and even
younger. The youth football organization now reportedly maintains liability insurance coverage
through K&K Insurance Group with limits of $1 million per player and individual chapters have the

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