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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

NFL Players' Association has Melissa C. Brown on Their Team

This is a guest post from the law firm of Farrell, Fraulob & Brown, Sacramento, CA

The NFL Players’ Association recently hired partner, Melissa Brown, as an expert witness for its Workers’ Compensation Arbitration with the NFL Owners. The issue in dispute was whether the players are in violation of their collective bargaining agreement when they file workers’ compensation injury claims in California seeking the greater protections afforded California workers than may be available in the team’s home state. The NFL Owners filed a grievance against several Houston Texan players who were injured during the course of their careers. The decision, following two days of arbitration in Philadelphia, is expected to be the first arbitration decision issued since the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal decision in the Matthews case which issued in August of 2012.

In Matthews, the federal court recognized the right of out of state NFL players to file injury claims in California. The NFL Owners, however, argue that the NFL players’ contracts require them to file claims only in the team’s home state and the exercise of the right to file workers’ compensation claims for injuries sustained in California is a breach of their employment contract.
Given the serious concussion, orthopedic, internal and other injuries sustained by NFL players, access to medical care and benefits is critical. Many careers are cut short due to these injuries, leaving NFL players with life-long residual disability and need for lifetime medical care.

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