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    09.06.18 Professor Jodi Balsam Tells Canadian Network TSN Why NHL May Settle Concussion Lawsuit
    Jodi Balsam

    Professor Jodi Balsam, a sports law expert and former in-house counsel at the National Football League, was quoted in a Sept. 5 story on Canadian sports network TSN about why the National Hockey League may now be willing to discuss a settlement in a contentious concussion lawsuit brought by former players.

    “They’ve won a fairly consequential pre-trial ruling,” Balsam said. “With that win, the NHL is in the best settlement posture…. It may be the best moment for the NHL to consider settling.”

    Balsam’s remarks follow reports that lawyers for the NHL have engaged in settlement negotiations with attorneys for former players who claim the league lied about the dangers of repeated head trauma and concussions. “It does the NHL no good to settle 150 or 200 cases not knowing what’s down the road,” she said, explaining the benefits of settling in a class action. “The league wants to know its ultimate liability. If the NHL decides to go to trial on all these cases, they still have to go through further discovery and depositions, and then prepare to try hundreds of individual cases across the country.”

    Balsam added that a settlement could help the NHL limit its liability, avoid the uncertainty of trials, and bar any future claims. “The NHL isn’t as big as the NFL. Look at the relative economic health and prosperity of the two leagues,” she said. “The NHL doesn’t have as much money to spend and players don’t get paid as much and the anticipated future earnings are less for a pro hockey player.”

    At the Law School, Balsam teaches courses on Professional Responsibility and Sports Law. She also serves as director of the Law School’s Externship Program. Balsam is regularly quoted in the media on a broad range of issues such as legalized sports gambling, labor-management relations, wearable technology, and sports related controversies.

    Read more: NHL in talks to settle concussion lawsuit, judge says