Liens - Information for Settlement Class Members

212. What is a Lien?


A Lien is a legal right through which someone claims a legal obligation to withhold payment from a Monetary Award, Supplemental Monetary Award, or Derivative Claimant Award (“Award”). The person or entity claiming the Lien is called a lienholder.

213. What Liens will the Claims Administrator pay out of my Award?


The Claims Administrator will pay the following kinds of Liens asserted by lienholders or identified by you in your Claim Package:

(a) Medical Liens

(b) Attorneys’ Liens

(c) Other Liens

214. What is a Medical Lien?


A Medical Lien is the most likely type of Lien to be claimed against a Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award involving a personal injury. Medical Liens are sometimes called “healthcare liens.” A Medical Lien occurs when a healthcare insurer/payor (such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and/or others) pays for medical items, services, and/or prescription drugs related to your Qualifying Diagnosis. If you are then eligible to receive a Monetary Award because of your Qualifying Diagnosis, the healthcare insurer/payor may be entitled to reimbursement (that is, be paid back) for its payments out of your Monetary Award. This right applies only to medical expenses or services related to your Qualifying Diagnosis. For example, if you received a Monetary Award for Alzheimer’s Disease, medical expenses for treating your Alzheimer’s Disease may be subject to a Medical Lien, but medical expenses for a sprained ankle would not.

There are many different types of Medical Liens, including those asserted by Medicare A/B, Medicare C/D, Medicaid, TRICARE, VA, Indian Health Services and Private Healthcare Insurers for certain plans where, under the Settlement Agreement, there needs to be a legal obligation to withhold payment.

215. What is an Attorney's Lien?


An Attorney's Lien is a Lien for an attorney’s fees and costs for work that the lawyer did representing you individually in the NFL concussion litigation and/or in the Settlement Program. Attorneys’ Liens do not include claims for fees and costs by attorneys for work they did to help create and carry out the Settlement Program.


216. What are the kinds of Other Liens recognized in the Settlement Program?


1. Child Support Liens Liens from a federal or state child support agency for unpaid child support
2. Tax Liens Liens from a federal, state, or local tax agency for unpaid taxes and penalties
3. Judgment Liens Liens for a debt based on a contract, business, loan, or any other debt enforced in a final judgment entered by a federal or state court


217. Are there any debts that the Claims Administrator will not pay?


The Claims Administrator will not pay:

(a) Claims for debts owed by anyone other than the Settlement Class Member, including your lawyer.

(b) Claims based on a Settlement Class Member’s assignment of rights to or proceeds of an Award to a third party pursuant to the Court’s December 8, 2017 Explanation and Order Regarding Assignment of Monetary Claims to Third Parties (click here to read the Court’s Explanation and Order). However, if the third party is willing to accept the amount it paid to you in full satisfaction of the debt, the Claims Administrator will withhold that amount from your Award and return it to the third party.


218. Do Medical Liens have to be resolved out of my Award?


Yes. The Claims Administrator is required to withhold some or all of your Award until the Medical Liens asserted against your Award have been resolved. The money withheld will be used to repay valid Liens and any amounts left over will be paid to you. To get that money, however, the Medical Liens against your Award have to be resolved first.

The Settlement Agreement authorizes the use of “holdbacks,” which provide two benefits:

1. More money can move while Liens get resolved. By setting aside a portion of your Award for the purpose of settling Liens, the Claims Administrator can release the rest of the Award to you. Otherwise, the entire Award would need to be withheld from you until the Lien is resolved. If any portion of the holdback is not needed to repay the Lien, it goes to you.

2. Your health care benefits are protected. Holdback amounts are carefully calculated to be as low as possible while setting aside enough money to resolve your Liens. The Lien Resolution Administrator calculates the amount to hold back based on several factors, including: (1) your Qualifying Diagnosis, (2) the type of Lien(s) being claimed, (3) the number of Liens and (4) the typical cost of treatment for someone with your diagnosis. You can rest assured that your Lien will be addressed.

Under the Settlement Agreement, a Medical Lien could be asserted against your Award by a governmental health plan, a Medicare Part C or Part D plan, or certain private health insurance plans where there is a legal obligation to withhold payment. Governmental health plans include Medicare Part A and Part B, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, TRICARE, Indian Health Services and plans provided by other governmental agencies or the military.

The Lien Resolution Administrator will act on your behalf to resolve Liens asserted by governmental health plans or Medicare Part C or Part D plans.

There also may be private health insurers who seek reimbursement for expenses they have paid on your behalf. Under the Settlement Agreement, you can choose to resolve private health insurance plan claims where there is no legal obligation to withhold these payments either by doing so yourself (or, if you are represented, through your lawyer), or by hiring the Lien Resolution Administrator or another lien resolution company to resolve them for you.


219. What could happen if I do not resolve my Medical Liens?


If Medical Liens are not properly resolved, your health plan could stop paying for your medical bills or stop providing you with other benefits. An insurer’s right to place a Lien on your Award may be protected by law. This obligates you to work with the insurers to resolve any Liens claimed against your Award.


220. How do I know if there is a Lien against me?


The settlement administrators have the responsibility to identify and resolve certain Medical Liens and lienholders are on notice that they should tell the settlement administrators of any Liens against Settlement Class Members. The Settlement Program will issue a notice about certain kinds of Liens as they are relevant to you.

 

Kind of Lien

Notice Type

1.

Medical Liens

The Lien Resolution Administrator will send you specific notices depending on the Lien type. These notices will identify the lienholder and what options are available to verify and resolve the Lien. Where the notice involves a private payor, it will also provide you with the option to hire the Lien Resolution Administrator to resolve the Lien or identify that you will resolve it yourself.

2.

Attorneys’ Liens

The Claims Administrator will send you a Notice of Lien about each Lien asserted against your Award along with copies of the supporting documents from the lienholder after you submit a Claim Package. You will be asked to respond to the notice either to consent to or dispute the Lien. Note for Attorneys: If you are a Settlement Class Member’s current lawyer and believe that Lien payments may interfere with recovery of your attorney’s fees and costs, you must assert a Lien for attorney’s fees and costs before the Claims Administrator begins the process to pay the affected Settlement Class Member.

3.

Other Liens


Additionally, the attachment to your Award notice will list all Liens received as of the date of the notice where funds have been deducted or held back from your Award, the lienholder’s name and the amount deducted or held back for the Lien. You will receive a notice including any additional amount deducted or held back from your Award for Liens asserted after the date of your Award notice.

A “Deduction for Finalized Lien” shows you the amount of money that the Claims Administrator will pay to the lienholder for a Lien that has been resolved. The amount the Claims Administrator has to deduct from your Award to pay an 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 and costs in this Settlement Program.

A “Holdback for Pending Lien” shows you the amount of money the Claims Administrator is holding back from your payment for a Lien that has not been resolved. After Liens with holdback amounts are resolved, the Claims Administrator will pay the lienholder the final Lien amount and pay any remaining funds that were held back to you. The amount the Claims Administrator has to deduct from your Award to pay an 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 and costs in this Settlement Program.

Keep in mind that a holdback amount for Medical Liens does not necessarily mean that a valid Lien exists. The Lien Resolution Administrator is responsible for verifying whether you are or were entitled to benefits under certain health insurance programs such as the Medicare Program and the Medicaid Program.


221. What if I identify a Lien on my Claim Form?


The Claims Administrator will ask you (or, if you are represented, your lawyer) to provide information and documentation about the Lien so it can contact the lienholder for updated information and treat it like any other Lien. If you do not provide the Claims Administrator with enough information to contact the lienholder or the lienholder does not provide the Claims Administrator with the information it needs, you are responsible for resolving the Lien.


222. How do I respond to the notice of Lien from the Settlement Program?


 

Kind of Lien

How to Respond

1.

Medical Liens

Depending on the Lien type, the notices sent by the Lien Resolution Administrator will provide instructions on how to respond, including whether or not your response is required. Any responses can be sent to the Lien Resolution Administrator by e-mail or mail.

2.

Attorneys’ Liens

The Notice of Lien requires that you tell the Claims Administrator whether you consent to or dispute the Lien by email, mail, overnight delivery, or fax. If you do not respond by the deadline listed at the top of the Notice of Lien, the Claims Administrator will treat it as a disputed Lien.

3.

Other Liens



223. I received a notice from my healthcare insurer saying that it may have a Lien against me. What should I do?


If you have not previously provided the notice with your Claim Form, then you should provide that information, along with your Settlement Program ID, name and contact information by mail to:

NFL Concussion Settlement
Claims Administrator
P.O. Box 25369
Richmond, VA 23260


224. Should I contact a lienholder to speed up the Medical Lien resolution process?


No. The Lien Resolution Administrator is already working with lienholders in the most efficient manner possible. Contacting a lienholder regarding a Medical Lien may result in multiple recovery attempts, which can significantly delay processing time.


225. I have medical coverage through Medicare. What should I do?


The Lien Resolution Administrator is already working directly with Medicare to resolve Medicare Part A and Part B Liens. When you qualify for an Award, the Lien Resolution Administrator determines if you are (or ever were) a Medicare beneficiary. If so, the Lien Resolution Administrator calculates a holdback amount and automatically resolves any Medicare Liens for you.

If the Lien Resolution Administrator needs anything from you to resolve a Medicare Lien, it will contact you. If you (or, if you are represented, your lawyer) receive any type of correspondence from Medicare regarding a Lien, forward it to the Claims Administrator as soon as possible. In the meantime, you do not need to do anything about Medicare.


226. What about Medicare Part C and Part D Liens?


If you currently receive benefits through Medicare Part C or Part D* or have received such benefits in the past, you must identify the Part C or Part D Program Sponsor on your Claim Form. The Lien Resolution Administrator will use this information to resolve any Liens that may be claimed by the Part C or Part D Program Sponsor in connection with your Award.

If you receive notice of a potential Lien from a Medicare Part C or Part D Program Sponsor, forward it to the Claims Administrator as soon as possible. The notice will help the Lien Resolution Administrator address your Lien.

Reminder: Medicare Part C Program Sponsors (also known as “Medicare Advantage Plans”) are private health insurers that contract with Medicare to provide the same services as traditional Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare Part D Program Sponsors are private health insurers that contract with Medicare to provide supplemental prescription drug coverage.


227. I have medical coverage through Medicaid. What should I do?


The Lien Resolution Administrator has reached agreements with most state Medicaid* agencies to resolve Medicaid Liens. This is a multi-step process. First, the Lien Resolution Administrator verifies whether you are or were a Medicaid beneficiary in the state(s) of residency listed on your Claim Form. Then the Lien Resolution Administrator determines if Medicaid has paid for any treatments related to your Qualifying Diagnosis. Next, the Lien Resolution Administrator reviews Medicaid’s expenses to make sure they apply only to those treatments and nothing else. When the Lien Resolution Administrator determines the final Lien amount, it is paid to the agency from your holdback.

You must identify all your states of residence on your Claim Form. If the Lien Resolution Administrator needs anything else from you to resolve a Medicaid Lien, it will contact you.

Reminder: Medicaid provides medical coverage for individuals and families with limited resources. Each state and territory has its own Medicaid Program and each one is different. If you have lived in more than one state, it is possible that you have received benefits from more than one Medicaid agency. If so, each state’s agency must be contacted to determine if you are or have been a Medicaid beneficiary in that state.


228. I (or my spouse) served in the military, so I have medical coverage through TRICARE or the Department of Veterans Affairs. What should I do?


If you have or had medical coverage through either TRICARE or the Department of Veterans Affairs* (“VA”), and if the agency paid for or provided treatment related to your Qualifying Diagnosis, then the agency may have a right to be reimbursed for the payments it made.

You must include all TRICARE or VA coverage information on your Claim Form. The Lien Resolution Administrator will use this information to resolve any Lien that may be claimed by TRICARE or the VA in connection with your Award. If the Lien Resolution Administrator needs anything else from you to resolve a military Lien, it will contact you.

Reminder: TRICARE and the VA are governmental benefit programs that provide medical coverage or treatment for eligible members of the military and their families.


229. I have medical coverage through the Department of Indian Health Services. What should I do?


If you have or had medical coverage through Indian Health Services* (“IHS”), and if IHS paid for treatment related to your Qualifying Diagnosis, then the agency may have a right to be reimbursed for the payments it made.

You must include all IHS coverage on your Claim Form. The Lien Resolution Administrator will use this information to resolve any Lien that may be claimed by IHS in connection with your Award. If the Lien Resolution Administrator needs anything else from you to resolve an IHS Lien, it will contact you.

Reminder: IHS is a federal agency that provides medical services for American Indians and Alaska Natives.


230. What agreements and with which agencies has the Lien Resolution Administrator been able to secure on behalf of Settlement Class Members?


The Lien Resolution Administrator has contacted Medicare to address Medicare A / B reimbursement claims and has: (a) secured a global agreement for Monetary Awards for Level 1.5 Neurocognitive Impairment and Level 2 Neurocognitive Impairment; and (b) secured a “no interest” statement from Medicare for those Settlement Class Members whose last Eligible Season ended before December 5, 1980, and who are scheduled to receive Monetary Awards. These agreements result in a fixed, predictable and streamlined payment process that covers past and future injury-related medical care. The Lien Resolution Administrator will handle all other Qualifying Diagnoses that trigger Medicare reimbursement obligations through Medicare’s traditional claims process.


Also, the Lien Resolution Administrator has reached agreement with more than 45 of 52 Medicaid agencies, which apply offsets and caps to the audited Medicaid lien amounts, resulting in significant savings to Settlement Class Members.


231. I have a private medical insurance plan. Can they claim a Lien on my Award?


Private insurance plans do not usually carry an obligation to withhold payment of settlement funds, like Awards. However, most private insurance* plan documents (such as a contract or a plan booklet) contain provisions that require you to notify the insurer of any illness or injury that can be attributed to a third party. When this happens, and if you receive compensation from the third party, then the insurer may demand repayment from that compensation. If you fail to comply with these provisions in your insurance plan, the company can take action against you later or deny future benefits.

You can include private insurance coverage on your Claim Form. If you do so, the Lien Resolution Administrator will send you information explaining your options for resolving the potential Lien.

Reminder: Private health insurance coverage is offered through private, non-governmental entities. Private insurance policies are commonly referred to as insurance “plans.” Examples of private healthcare insurance include coverage provided by your (or a family member’s) employer or that you purchased from an insurance company. Private insurance plans often refer to the policy holder as a “subscriber” or “plan member.”


232. What happens if I dispute a Lien?


 

Kind of Lien

How to Dispute

1.

Medical Liens

The Lien Resolution Administrator will send you a notice when it determines the final repayment amount needed to satisfy Medical Liens against your Award. The notice will include instructions about how to resolve the dispute.

2.

Attorneys’ Liens

The Claims Administrator will send you a Notice of Duty to Resolve Lien Dispute with instructions about how to resolve the dispute. The notice will explain that the Claims Administrator will withhold enough money to pay the Lien, to the extent funds are available, until the dispute is resolved. If you cannot reach an agreement, the Claims Administrator will refer the dispute to the Magistrate Judge for resolution pursuant to a dispute resolution process approved by the Court. on March 6, 2018, and amended on October 3, 2018. Click here for FAQs on the Attorneys' Liens dispute resolution process.

3.

Other Liens

The Claims Administrator will send you a Notice of Duty to Resolve Lien Dispute with instructions about how to resolve the dispute. You are responsible for contacting the lienholder directly to resolve the dispute. The notice will explain that the Claims Administrator will withhold enough money to pay the Lien, to the extent funds are available, until the dispute is resolved.



233. What is a Dispute over an Attorney’s Lien?


A Dispute over an Attorney’s Lien is any disagreement between you and an attorney lienholder(s) over the reasonableness and amount of the fees and/or costs sought by the attorney lienholder(s). The resolution of the Dispute will also take into account any other matter relating to attorney’s fees and costs the Court determines are necessary to ensure that your rights and the attorney lienholder’s rights are protected, including the extent of any other attorney’s fees and costs to be paid out of your Award.

234. Where can I get a copy of the Rules that apply to the Attorneys’ Liens dispute resolution process?


The Court entered an October 3, 2018 Order adopting the Amended Rules Governing Attorneys’ Liens (as originally adopted on March 6, 2018), which you can find on the official website at www.NFLConcussionSettlement.com under the Documents menu option, Governing Rules. Click here to view the Rules Governing Attorneys’ Liens.

235. How does a Dispute over an Attorney’s Lien get into the Attorneys’ Liens dispute resolution process?


If you fail to consent to or dispute an Attorney’s Lien, the Claims Administrator refers the Dispute to the Honorable David Strawbridge, U.S.M.J., or another United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, pursuant to the Court’s April 4, 2017 Order.

236. Who are the Parties in an Attorney’s Lien Dispute?


The Parties to an Attorney’s Lien Dispute are your lawyer or you, if you are unrepresented, and any attorney lienholder(s). The Claims Administrator is not a Party to the Dispute.

237. Who resolves an Attorney’s Lien Dispute?


The Parties may consent to have the Magistrate Judge enter a final decision as to the resolution of the Dispute. If consent is not given by both Parties, the Magistrate Judge will prepare a Report and Recommendation based on the information in the Dispute Record and any testimony and documents properly presented at a hearing, if one is granted. The District Judge will enter a final decision based on the Report and Recommendation from the Magistrate Judge and any objections from the Parties. If both Parties consent, the Magistrate Judge’s decision will be the final decision of the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The Claims Administrator will disburse the withheld funds in accordance with the final decision, the provisions of the Settlement Agreement and any Court orders regarding settlement implementation.


238. Do I have to try to reach an agreement with the attorney who asserted a Lien against my Award?


Yes. Your lawyer or you, if you are unrepresented, must make reasonable efforts to resolve the Dispute by agreement before and during the dispute resolution process. The Parties also must provide a summary of the attempts to reach an agreement with the opposing Party in the dispute submissions.

239. How do I serve document submissions in the Attorneys’ Liens dispute resolution process?


All dispute resolution documents must be served on the Claims Administrator by one of the following methods:

(a) Email to ClaimsAdministrator@NFLConcussionSettlement.com, by a secured and encrypted method and include “ATTN: NFL Liens” in the subject line;

(b) Facsimile to (804) 521-7299, ATTN: NFL Liens;

(c) Mail to NFL Concussion Settlement, Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 25369, Richmond, VA  23260, ATTN: NFL Liens; or

(d) Delivery by overnight carrier to NFL Concussion Settlement, c/o BrownGreer PLC, 250 Rocketts Way, Richmond, VA  23231, ATTN: NFL Liens.


240. What do I need to submit in the Attorneys’ Liens dispute resolution process?


You will need to submit a Statement of Dispute and a Response Memorandum as discussed below. The Claims Administrator will send you a Schedule of Document Submissions setting deadlines for the submissions.

241. What is a Statement of Dispute and when is it due?


A Statement of Dispute is the written information about the Dispute submitted by each Party. Each Party must submit a Statement of Dispute within 30 days after the date of the Schedule of Document Submissions. The Claims Administrator will serve each Party’s Statement of Dispute on the opposing Party.

242. What information must be included in my Statement of Dispute?


If you are represented, your current lawyer must serve the Claims Administrator with a Statement of Dispute that includes:

(a) A statement of all issues in dispute;

(b) A chronology of the tasks performed by the attorney, the date each task was performed and the time spent on each task;

(c) A list of costs with a brief explanation of the purpose of incurring these costs and the date the costs were incurred;

(d) The relief sought;

(e) A summary of the attempts to reach an agreement with the opposing Party;

(f) Any exhibits;

(g)  A copy of his or her retainer agreement signed by the Settlement Class Member;

(h)  Any modifications to that agreement;

(i) A signed copy of the Statement of Fees and Costs; and

(j) A statement signed by you or your lawyer declaring under penalty of perjury pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746 that the information submitted in the Statement of Dispute is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and that you understand that false statements made in connection with this process may result in fines, sanctions, and/or any other remedy available by law.

If you are not represented, you must submit to the Claims Administrator a Statement of Dispute that:

(a) Explains your best understanding of the issues;

(b) Provides a summary of the attempts to reach an agreement with the attorney lienholder;

(c) Includes any information that you believe would be useful to the Magistrate Judge about the work performed by the attorney lienholder, any suggested resolution, and any documents or exhibits you want the Magistrate Judge to consider; and

(d) Includes a statement signed by you declaring under penalty of perjury that the information submitted in the Statement of Dispute is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and that you understand that false statements may result in fines, sanctions, and/or any other remedy available by law.


243. What is a Response Memorandum and when is it due?


A Response Memorandum is each Party’s written submission responding to the opposing Party’s Statement of Dispute. Each Party may submit a Response Memorandum within 15 days after the date the Claims Administrator serves the Statements of Dispute on the Parties. The Claims Administrator will serve each Party’s Response Memorandum on the opposing Party.

Each Response Memorandum must contain a statement signed by you or your attorney pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746 declaring under penalty of perjury that the information submitted in the Response Memorandum is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and that you understand that false statements made in connection with this process may result in fines, sanctions, and/or any other remedy available by law.

If the opposing Party fails to submit a Statement of Dispute, you may not file a Response Memorandum unless the Magistrate Judge requests it.


244. What if I miss the deadline to submit my Statement of Dispute or Response Memorandum?


Extensions of deadlines are discouraged. If you believe an extension is necessary, you must submit a written request to the Claims Administrator showing good cause for the extension. The request should not be filed on the Court's docket. The Magistrate Judge may exercise discretion to extend or modify any submission deadline. Before you submit a request for an extension, you must confer with the attorney lienholder and disclose whether the attorney lienholder opposes your request. The Magistrate Judge will issue a notice of any extension or modification of a submission deadline, and the Claims Administrator will serve the notice on the Parties.

245. What information will the Magistrate Judge consider in making the Report and Recommendation or the final decision?


The Magistrate Judge bases the Report and Recommendation or the final decision (if the Parties consent to jurisdiction) on the Dispute Record provided by the Claims Administrator which consists of:

(a) A copy of your Notice of Monetary Award Claim Determination or Notice of Derivative Claimant Award Determination;

(b) The Notice of Lien that you received with the attachments;

(c) Your response, if any, to the Notice of Lien that you dispute the Lien;

(d) The Statements of Dispute from you and the attorney lienholder;

(e) The Response Memoranda from you and the attorney lienholder; and

(f) Any additional evidence produced by either Party or the Claims Administrator in response to a request of the Magistrate Judge.

If a hearing is granted, the Magistrate Judge also will consider any testimony and documents properly presented during the hearing.


246. If I am unrepresented, can I ask to have a lawyer appointed to represent me in the Attorney's Lien Dispute?


The Magistrate Judge has the discretion to appoint counsel for any unrepresented Settlement Class Member. To request a lawyer, you must serve the Claims Administrator with a written request showing good cause for your need for representation. The Claims Administrator will present your request to the Magistrate Judge and let you know what he decides.

247. Can I ask for a hearing on the Attorney's Lien Dispute?


Yes. If you want a hearing, you must request one in your Response Memorandum. The Magistrate Judge may order a hearing if he determines that such proceeding would help him resolve the Dispute. If the opposing Party does not submit a Statement of Dispute, you may serve a written request for a hearing within 15 days from the date the Claims Administrator serves the opposing Party with your Statement of Dispute. The Magistrate Judge will determine if the hearing will be in-person, by video conference, or by telephone conference. The Court's staff will make the necessary arrangements for video or telephone conference access if the Magistrate Judge orders such a hearing.

248. How will I find out if the Magistrate Judge grants a hearing on the Attorney's Lien Dispute and when will the hearing be scheduled?


The Claims Administrator will notify you of the Magistrate Judge’s decision. If the Magistrate Judge determines a hearing is necessary, the Claims Administrator will serve you and the attorney lienholder with a Hearing Schedule. The hearing will be scheduled promptly, but no sooner than 20 days after the date of the Hearing Schedule.

249. What happens at a hearing on an Attorney's Lien Dispute?


If the Magistrate Judge grants a hearing, the following procedure will apply.

(a) Evidence: The evidence that the Magistrate Judge may consider is limited to the Dispute Record and any testimony and documents properly presented during the hearing. 

(b) Testimony Under Oath or Affirmation: Hearing testimony must be submitted under oath or affirmation administered by the Magistrate Judge or by any duly qualified person. If you want to present live testimony of anyone other than the Settlement Class Member, you must submit a written request to the Claims Administrator no later than three days before the hearing that includes (1) the individual's name and relationship to you; (2) the nature and scope of the testimony to be provided; (3) the length of time the testimony will take; and (4) whether the essence of the testimony could be presented in any other manner. 

(c) Audio Recording of Hearing: The hearing proceedings will be audio-recorded.  The recording will be made available to the Parties to listen to or to transcribe at their own expense.


250. Do I have to participate in the hearing on the Attorney's Lien Dispute?


You and your lawyer, if you are represented, must participate in the hearing. If you do not participate in the hearing without prior approval from the Magistrate Judge, he will issue a Report and Recommendation or a final decision (if the Parties consent to jurisdiction) based on the Dispute Record at the time of the hearing, together with any testimony and documents properly presented at the hearing.

251. Do I have to be represented by a lawyer at the hearing on the Attorney's Lien Dispute? Can I have a non-lawyer advocate?


You may be represented by a lawyer, but you are not required to be represented. If you do not have a lawyer for the hearing, with the Magistrate Judge’s permission, you may be represented by a non-attorney advocate.

252. Can I withdraw a Dispute from the Attorneys' Liens dispute resolution process?


Yes. If you or your lawyer, if you are represented, reach an agreement with the attorney lienholder at any time before the Report and Recommendation or the Magistrate Judge’s final decision (if the Parties consent to jurisdiction) is issued and the Court approves the agreement, you may withdraw the Dispute from this process.

253. How do I withdraw a Dispute from the Attorneys' Liens dispute resolution process?


Each Party must serve a signed Withdrawal of Attorney's Lien Dispute (“Withdrawal”) with the terms of the agreement required by the Court on the Claims Administrator, and the dispute process will be stayed. The Court must approve the Withdrawal.

254. What information will the Magistrate Judge consider in making the Report and Recommendation or the final decision on the Withdrawals?


The Magistrate Judge bases the Report and Recommendation or the final decision (if the Parties consent to jurisdiction) on the Withdrawal Record provided by the Claims Administrator which consists of: 


(a) A copy of the Notice of Monetary Award Claim Determination or Notice of Derivative Claimant Award Determination; 

(b) The Notice of Lien to the Settlement Class Member with the attachments (a copy of the Attorney Lienholder's retainer agreement signed by the Settlement Class Member, a copy of the notice of Attorney's Lien filed in the Court, and the amount of any costs provided by the Attorney Lienholder);

(c) The Settlement Class Member's response, if any, to the Notice of Lien that he or she disputes the Lien; 

(d) if the Settlement Class Member is represented, a copy of the current attorney's retainer agreement signed by the Settlement Class Member and a signed copy of the Statement of Fees and Costs as provided in Rule 17(b); and 

(e) The signed Withdrawals of Attorney's Lien Dispute.

If the Court approves the Withdrawal, the Claims Administrator will pay the withheld portion of the Award to you or your lawyer, and any attorney lienholder(s) as agreed to and stated in the Withdrawal.

255. When will the Magistrate Judge issue a Report and Recommendation or a final decision?


The Magistrate Judge will issue a Report and Recommendation or a final decision (if the Parties consent to jurisdiction) after consideration of the Dispute or Withdrawal Record and any evidence properly submitted during a hearing, if one is granted. The Claims Administrator will provide you with a copy of the Report and Recommendation or the final decision.

256. Can I object to the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation?


Yes. You have 14 days from the date the Claims Administrator serves the Report and Recommendation to file specific written objections with the District Judge. You have 14 days from the date the Claims Administrator serves any objections to file a written response to the opposing Party’s objections. The Claims Administrator will serve copies of the objections and any responses to the objections on the Parties.

257. Who makes the final decision resolving an Attorney's Lien Dispute?


If both Parties consent, the Magistrate Judge will enter a final decision resolving the Dispute. If the Parties do not consent, the District Judge will enter a final decision after consideration of the Report and Recommendation and any objections from the Parties. The Claims Administrator will provide you with a copy of the final decision.

258. Can the District Judge or the Magistrate Judge change the final decision on an Attorney's Lien Dispute?


Yes, the District Judge or the Magistrate Judge can change the final decision, but only within seven days after the date of the final decision and only to modify or correct any mathematical error or an obvious material mistake in computing the amount to be paid to you, your attorney, and/or the attorney lienholder.

259. Can I appeal the final decision on an Attorney's Lien Dispute?


Yes. Any Party may appeal the final decision.

260. How will the withheld funds be paid after the final decision on an Attorney's Lien Dispute?


After any timely appeals are resolved, the Claims Administrator will disburse the withheld funds in accordance with the final decision and the provisions of the Settlement Agreement and Court orders regarding settlement implementation.

261. How and when is a Lien paid?


 

Kind of Lien

Lien Payment

1.

Medical Liens

If you consent to the final Lien amount, or the Lien cannot be disputed*, the Lien Resolution Administrator will pay the final Lien amount to the lienholder out of your Award.

If you dispute the final Lien amount, payment will not be requested by the Lien Resolution Administrator until the dispute is resolved either by the Lien Resolution Administrator or by you (or, if you are represented, your lawyer) if you chose to resolve the Medical Lien yourself.

*Note: Medicare A/B Liens against Level 1.5 Neurocognitive Impairment and Level 2 Neurocognitive Impairment Monetary Awards (both of which are subject to a pre-negotiated global repayment amount) cannot be disputed.

2.

Attorneys’ Liens

If you consent to the Lien, the Claims Administrator will deduct the Lien amount from your Award. The amount the Claims Administrator has to deduct from your Award to pay an 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 and costs in this Settlement Program.

If you dispute the Lien, the Claims Administrator will hold the Lien amount until one of the following things happens:

     (1)  The Court approves Withdrawal of Attorney's Lien Dispute forms signed by both the Settlement Class Member and the Attorney Lienholder specifying the distribution of the withheld funds; or

     (2)  The Court overseeing the Settlement Program enters a final decision determining the amount, if any, to be paid to the Attorney Lienholder.

3.

Other Liens

If you consent to the Lien, the Claims Administrator will deduct the Lien amount from your Award and will pay the Lien amount to the lienholder.

If you dispute the Lien, the Claims Administrator will hold the Lien amount until one of the following things happens:

     (1)  The lienholder tells the Claims Administrator that you no longer owe the money;

     (2)  You and the lienholder send the Claims Administrator a signed, written agreement telling the Claims Administrator how to pay the withheld money; or

     (3)  The Claims Administrator receives a copy of a final decision from the applicable federal or state agency or court determining the current amount of the Lien to be paid.



262. What happens if more than one Lien exists against a single Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award and there is not enough money to pay all of the Liens in full?


If the Award amount is not enough to pay all Liens in full, Liens will be paid in this order until the Award amount is used up, unless in a particular claim a different resolution method is agreed upon:

1. Medicare Program (Parts A / B) and Medicare Part C and Part D Program Sponsors;

2. Other Governmental Payor Liens, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) TRICARE and Indian Health Services (“IHS");

3. Medicaid;

4. Self-funded ERISA plans; and

5. Attorneys’ Liens; and then

6. Other Liens and private healthcare insurer Liens according to a “first in time, first in right” policy in the date order in which the debt was perfected with, or recognized by, the applicable court or agency.


263. Will I be notified when the Claims Administrator pays a Lien?


 

Kind of Lien

Notice

1.

Medical Liens

The Lien Resolution Administrator will issue a payment report to the Claims Administrator.

2.

Attorneys’ Liens

The Claims Administrator will issue a Notice of Lien Payment to you. The notice will include the date of the Lien payment, the lienholder and the amount of the payment.

3.

Other Liens



264. Whom do I contact with questions about Liens?


 

Kind of Lien

Whom Do I Contact?

1.

Medical Liens

Contact the Lien Resolution Administrator by calling 1-855-887-3485 or e-mailing NFLLiens@garretsongroup.com.

2.

Attorneys’ Liens and Other Liens

Contact the Claims Administrator by calling 1-855-887-3485 or e-mailing ClaimsAdministrator@NFLConcussionSettlement.com.