185. Who is Class Counsel?

By Order on May 24, 2019, the Court appointed Christopher A. Seeger as the Class Counsel. Mr. Seeger is with the law firm Seeger Weiss LLP, located at 55 Challenger Road, 6th Floor, Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660.

186. Do I need a lawyer to represent me individually in this Program?

There is no requirement that you have a personal lawyer to participate in the Settlement Program. While the settlement administrators can assist a Settlement Class Member proceeding without a lawyer (or “pro se”) to complete required forms, they cannot give you any legal advice. Contact Class Counsel if you have questions about whether you should hire a lawyer.

187. How did a lawyer register me?

If a lawyer represents you in this Settlement Program, he or she may register you on your behalf. After your lawyer registers you, the Claims Administrator will mail or email a Notice of Attorney Representation to you. The notice will include the name and address of the lawyer who registered you. If this lawyer or law firm represents you, contact your lawyer with any questions related to the Settlement Program. If the lawyer does not represent you, write to the Claims Administrator and update your representation status as soon as possible. If the Claims Administrator identifies any overlapping or conflicting information about which lawyer represents you, it will issue a notice to you and the lawyers.

188. What are Common Benefit Fees and how will Class Counsel be paid?

Common Benefit Fees are the costs and litigation expenses that Class Counsel and other lawyers incur for their efforts on behalf of the common benefit of the Settlement Class. On February 13, 2017, then Co-Lead Class Counsel (now Class Counsel) petitioned the Court for: (1) compensation of $112.5 million to be paid by the NFL for common benefit work done to date for the Settlement Class and (2) a 5% set-aside from each Monetary Award and Derivative Claimant Award for past and future common benefit work for the Settlement Class.

On April 5, 2018, the Court awarded compensation of $112.5 million to Class Counsel for fees and expenses related to their work for the common benefit of the Settlement Class, in response to the first component of their February 13, 2017 petition. Click here to read the Court’s Memorandum on the Common Benefit Fund (Document 9860). Click here to read the Court’s Order granting $112.5 million to Class Counsel (Document 9861).

The Court has not yet ruled on the second component of Class Counsel’s petition regarding the 5% holdback, but while it is pending, the Court has instructed the Claims Administrator to continue to hold back 5% of each Award. The 5% holdback comes directly from the Monetary Award if the Class Member is unrepresented by counsel. If the Class member is represented by counsel, the 5% holdback comes from the counsel's fee. On June 27, 2018, the Court entered an Order instructing the Claims Administrator to release to the Attorneys’ Fees Qualified Settlement Fund the 5% amounts withheld from Awards, in accordance with Section 23.7 of the Settlement Agreement. Click here to read the Court’s Order Regarding Withholding for Common Benefit Fund. Click here to read the Court Approved Notice of Filing of Petition for Attorney Fees Costs and 5% Holdback on Awards for more information.

189. How will my individual lawyer be paid?

If you hire a lawyer, it is at your own expense. Any lawyer representing a Settlement Class Member individually, including a lawyer who is also Class Counsel, may charge a fee to represent that Settlement Class Member in this Settlement Program. The amount you must pay your lawyer is based on the contract or agreement you sign with that lawyer but it cannot exceed 22% of the Monetary Award (unless there is an approved petition for deviation). The amount the Claims Administrator has to deduct from your Award to pay the Attorney's Lien is based on the contract or agreement you sign with that lawyer and any orders of the Court that affect attorneys’ fees in this Settlement Program.

190. Can I terminate my relationship with my individual lawyer?

Yes. Players have the right to terminate their relationship with their current individual lawyer. If you are considering doing that, you should contact your lawyer to talk about it. The settlement administrators cannot give you legal advice.

191. How do I tell the Claims Administrator I have a new lawyer or that I do not have a lawyer?

If you already registered and later hire a lawyer or change the lawyer who represents you in this Settlement Program, or if you do not have a lawyer anymore, you must tell the Claims Administrator in writing. You can email or mail a letter or the Request for Change in Representation Status Form to the Claims Administrator. If you send a letter, include your name and your Settlement Program ID, if you know it, and any information about your legal representation. If you tell the Claims Administrator that you ended your relationship with your lawyer, the Claims Administrator will: (1) tell that lawyer about your action, (2) give the lawyer seven days to reach out to you and then (3) change your records to show your new legal representation status in this Settlement Program.

Reminder: The Request for Change in Representation Status Form is available on the Forms page of the Settlement Website. Click here to get it.