An attorney representing multiple ex-NFL players seeking compensation from the concussion litigation class action settlement has asked a federal court to bar the claims administrator from repeatedly auditing players’ claims.
Florida attorney Patrick Tighe, who represents around 90 former players, filed a motion for “court intervention” Sunday that asked the court to bar claims administrator BrownGreer from performing more than one audit of a player’s claim.
According to Tighe’s motion, the claims administrator put more than 30 of his cases into a second round of audits after the claims were initially audited and then found to not be fraudulent. Forcing the claims into multiple rounds of audits, Tighe contended, goes against the broader settlement agreement, and damages his client’s due process rights.
“However, the application of the audit rules asserted by the claims administrator provides the claims administrator unbridled authority to stop the claims process and move the claims into a never-ending procedural black hole with no definite endpoint,” Tighe said in the 19-page filing. “The claims administrator’s application of the audit rules allows the claims process to continue ad infinitum at the claims administrator’s role discretion, which effectively eliminates movant’s due process rights under the settlement agreement.”
Most recently, Tighe raised objections about the standards certain doctors should be held to when determining whether a former player sustained an injury qualifying them to receive settlement funds. In response, Seeger entered a filing accusing Tighe of working with embattled political insider Roger Stone to spread “conspiracy theories and falsehoods about the settlement.” Part of Seeger’s response noted that many of Tighe’s claims were under audit.
According to the most recent report regarding how the claims are being processed, nearly 1,200 claims, or 55 percent of the claims submitted, have been audited as of mid-February.
Speaking Monday, Tighe said he has heard from other attorneys that their clients have likewise been subject to multiple audits, but he said he was unsure if other attorneys would be joining his motion.
According to the motion, 32 cases being handled by Tighe were initially placed under audit in the late summer and fall of 2017. The audits were completed and in March the claimants were told that there had not been any fraud. Most of the claims were later denied and were pending an appeal when they were put into a second audit in August.
In his motion Tighe said the claimants had not been told why their claims were audited, but he suggested the audits could stem from the doctor who evaluated all of the claims at issue. According to the motion, the claims administrator had questioned the doctor’s competence, and, although the doctor was ultimately determined not to have committed any fraud, he was later terminated from the claims administration program. The motion said the class members were never given any notice about the doctor or the alleged concerns about his competency.
Along with requesting that the claims administrator be barred from performing multiple audits, Tighe also requested that the claims administrator be required to disclose the basis for the audits.
Seeger did not return a message seeking comment, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison attorney Brad Karp, who is representing the NFL, also did not return a call seeking comment.