U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia, who has been overseeing the National Football League’s settlement of concussion-related claims with former players, signed-off last week on a revised version of the deal formally barring the use of a race-based method to gauge dementia in Black retirees.

This week’s Litigators of the Week, Cy Smith and Aitan Goelman of Zuckerman Spaeder, set the ball rolling on those changes when they sued the league on behalf of retired Black players in 2020 challenging the use of so-called “race-norming” in tests conducted as part of the league’s concussion benefits process. The lawsuit claimed the league made it significantly more difficult for Black retirees to receive benefits by applying different sets of data based on race when processing ex-players’ “cognitive function” test scores. Although the suit was ultimately dismissed, Brody allowed the firm’s clients to intervene in the court-ordered mediation process to address concerns related to the issue.

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