The first question you should ask before initiating a lawsuit is what is your objective? Seau’s family answered that question today by saying “we know this lawsuit will not bring back Junior, but it will send a message that the NFL needs to care for its former players, acknowledge its decades of deception on the issue of head injuries and player safety, and make the game safer for future generations.”
Much of the press has focused on the wrongful death aspect of this case, but the most important part of this lawsuit, if true, is very damning against the NFL. The lawsuit really focuses on the allegation that the NFL not only studied and found a link between traumatic head impacts and brain injury, including CTE, but hid the research and falsified it.
Junior Seau is not alone, as approximately 3,800 other cases, including a class action alleging very similar facts. Most of these cases have been consolidated to Federal Court in Pennsylvania and it is expected the NFL will attempt to do the same with the Seau case.
Wrongful death may be a difficult cause of action to prove (if even that’s the objective), but it will be interesting to see how the attorneys in this matter will link the NFL and the helmet manufacturers to CTE and show that CTE caused Seau to commit suicide.
The future of the NFL is no doubt in question as much of the negotiations with the NFL Players Association included issues of pensions and the welfare of NFL players after they retire. NFL plans should play close attention as the game may be changing.