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Carmel Valley residents’ firm to serve on steering committee overseeing litigation against NFL

May 16, 2012 News Articles

San Diego law firm Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP, has been appointed by U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody to serve on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee which is overseeing national MDL litigation against the National Football League (NFL) alleging that multiple concussions can lead to long-term brain injuries. CaseyGerry is one of only nine law firms in the nation – and the only one in San Diego – serving on the leadership committee.

Firm partner and Carmel Valley resident Frederick Schenk will represent the firm on the Steering Committee, which is charged with overseeing pre-trial discovery; coordinating, submitting and arguing pre-trial motions; deposing and examining witnesses; introducing evidence at hearings; and negotiating stipulations and settlements with defendants. Also playing a role is partner and Carmel Valley resident Robert J. Francavilla, who will serve on the medicine and science sub-committee, which will retain experts and research the medical and scientific literature to help identify the relationship between playing football and developing head injuries.

According to Schenk, the lawsuits, which earlier this year were ordered to be consolidated in a Philadelphia federal court, are focused on compelling the NFL to provide medical monitoring for cumulative head trauma for former players who are – or could in the future be – victims of the repetitive traumatic brain injury they sustained while playing in the league. “The league has known for years of the inherent dangers of multiple blows to the head, but delayed sharing their knowledge with the players,” Schenk said.

Added Francavilla, who has worked on numerous personal injury cases involving serious head injuries, “we believe it is the NFL’s duty to warn the players of the dangers, to protect them on the field and to educate them about the immediate and long-term effects of concussions.”

The relationship between concussions and subsequent emotional distress has been documented in numerous studies, and these findings have resulted in more than 1,700 players filing suit since 2011 including the most recent on May 3 in the US District Federal Court in Georgia. Fueling the litigation – as well as renewed focus on the consequences of multiple concussions – is the tragic suicide of former San Diego Charger’s football player Junior Seau, although it is yet to be medically determined whether he suffered the kind of head injuries that have led to depression and dementia.

All of the lawsuits contend the league has not done enough to educate players or to protect them from concussions and multiple blows to the heads. The former players also allege that the league failed to care for them afterwards.

About Casey Gerry
Celebrating more than 65 years in San Diego, CaseyGerry was established in 1947, and is the oldest plaintiffs’ law firm in San Diego. The firm’s 14 attorneys practice in numerous areas, including asbestos, personal injury, product liability and pharmaceutical litigation. Located in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego, the firm also has a satellite office in Carlsbad, Calif. For more information, call (619) 238-1811 or visit