12th March 2018
On March 8, 2018, U.S. District Judge John Lee delayed final approval of a $75 million settlement for the fifth time after he learned that thousands of current and former NCAA student-athletes have still yet to be notified of the settlement. Judge Lee originally approved the $75 million settlement in July 2016, but delays, largely attributed to difficulties notifying more than 4 million student-athletes, including acquiring contact information and physically notifying the student-athletes, have prevented final approval. The most recent difficulty, and the reason for the recent motion, was due to an audit process conducted by an administrator at Gilardi & Co. LLC. The administrator unintentionally failed to notify 74,706 athletes from 27 different schools about the case and the proposed settlement.
The settlement has been plagued with issues. As we have previously reported, in November 2017, Judge Lee first delayed final approval of the settlement, and stipulated an order allowing class members to object or opt out of the settlement by January 16, 2018. Judge Lee anticipated that the court administrator would file a revised declaration of completion by January 30, 2018; however, the court administrator notified another group of class members, who had yet to be notified of the case, the night before the deadline. In February 2018, Judge Lee again delayed final approval after an additional 13,000 class members still had not yet learned about the case and its proposed settlement. On March 8, 2018, Judge Lee asked both parties, “I take it I will not see any more motions like this?” Both attorneys assured Judge Lee that the audit will not produce any more delays.
The settlement came in the wake of former Eastern Illinois player, Adrian Arrington, and three others, 2011 suit against the NCAA. The student-athletes alleged that they suffered from seizures which were a byproduct of repeated head trauma. Of the $75 million settlement, $70 million will go to a Medical Monitoring Program, which will help treat and monitor the estimated 4.4 million current and former NCAA student-athletes who took part in contact and non-contact sports and the remaining $5 million will go to concussion research. The new final approval hearing is scheduled for August 16, 2018.