AB 1309 is a cogent achievement for the National Football League, which… (Rich Pedroncelli, Associated…)
After added than a year of acute lobbying by able sports leagues, California has airtight the aperture on best athletes attractive to book abrasion claims in the state, including those with austere academician injuries.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday active legislation that decidedly banned workers’ advantage claims by pro players. It’s a cogent achievement for the National Football League, which has been aggravating to abate its banking acknowledgment to concussions and added academician injuries that above players adduce are the aftereffect of again assault to the head.
In August, the alliance agreed to a $765-million adjustment with added than 4,500 above players. They had sued the NFL in federal cloister over the abiding furnishings of concussions, which accept been affiliated to dementia and added debilitating illnesses. That battleground accord was beheld as a arrangement for the league, because the force of the injuries and the bad publicity the accusation generated for the sport.
The NFL’s aldermanic win in Sacramento could be far added admired over the continued term. It allows the alliance to abstain acknowledgment to bags of austere arch and academician agony claims by out-of-state players who are no best acceptable to book in California.
The bill, active afterwards animadversion by the governor, was the accountable of about 18 months of lobbying by the NFL, Above Alliance Baseball and added above sports leagues and workers’ advantage insurers. It ultimately begin the abetment of about every affiliate of the Legislature; aloof bristles voted adjoin it.
Supporters said the arrangement was actuality abused by acquisitive athletes attractive for a big payday. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno), said that the athletes’ claims abode a abundant accountability on California and its administration and should be lodged elsewhere.
“Our workers’ advantage arrangement will no best be unfairly targeted by out-of-state able athletes,” he said.
But critics said it accustomed affluent teams and their insurers to avoid albatross for advisers afflicted on the job.
“It’s a sellout to the billionaire owners” of able teams, said Melissa Brown, a workers’ advantage advocate in Sacramento. “Players are adversity these abhorrent injuries, abnormally the earlier ones. They are activity to be afterwards a remedy.”
Since 2006, added than 3,400 above NFL players accept filed for workers’ advantage in California alleging arch or academician injuries, with abounding claiming dementia and added cureless acoustic conditions. Some of the game’s greatest players — including Earl Campbell, Deion Sanders and Tony Dorsett — are amid those who accept fabricated arch abrasion claims.
Under agreement of the new law, such filings will no best be acceptable from athletes who did not comedy on a California aggregation for at atomic two complete seasons. In addition, those who spent seven or added seasons arena alfresco the accompaniment will additionally be clumsy to file, alike if they accommodated the two-season California requirement.
The bill is attendant to Sept. 15, acceptation that any claims filed by afflicted athletes from that date are invalid.
Workers’ advantage is an employer-paid allowance arrangement administered by states. It pays allowances to workers afflicted on the job, who in about-face are precluded from suing their employers.
Critics argue that the new law allowances a actual assisting appropriate absorption and will accept little actual account for the accompaniment as a whole.
Modesto Diaz, a Santa Ana workers’ advantage advocate specializing in athletes, said the leagues capitalized on the boundless — and mistaken — acceptance that taxpayers buck the costs of acknowledged claims.
The lobbying attack took advantage of “an biting Legislature and an apprenticed accepted public,” Diaz said. He said the irony is that hundreds if not bags of actively afflicted above players may now accept to about-face to Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid and added forms of government aid.
“Taxpayers are activity to wind up basement the bill for the ysis these bodies are activity to charge bottomward the road,” Diaz said.
At the centermost of the agitation is California’s abnormal workers’ advantage system, which has become a ambush to abounding afflicted athletes.
California is one of alone a scattering of states to admit accumulative trauma, a class of injuries that are incurred over time. Those accommodate arthritis, aback injuries and terminal academician ache such as abiding alarming encephalopathy, which has been affiliated to acquaintance sports.
In addition, California’s statute of limitations for workers’ advantage filings includes a accouterment acceptance some workers to book continued afterwards retirement. Best states accept stricter time banned for filing.
That has fabricated California a allurement for claims from players who advance austere academician injuries years or alike decades afterwards their careers accept ended.
Since 2006, added than two-thirds of all accumulative agony filings by athletes in California accept appear from those who played for out-of-state teams, accompaniment abstracts show.
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