NFL Retirees Settle Suit Against Lawyers for $3M

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Two law firms can pay $3.5 million to settle claims that they misrepresented retired professional football players in a suit against the union, a federal judge ruled.
     The settlement also provides $750,000 in fees and litigation expenses to the lawyers who represented the football players in the legal malpractice suit, according to the tentative ruling by U.S. District Judge William Alsup.
     Bernard Parrish had led the class action, which also included John Brodie and Paul Hornung among named plaintiffs, in July 2010 against the firms Manatt, Phelps and Phillips and McKool Smith.
     They claimed that these lawyers had failed to get them the settlement they deserved in an earlier lawsuit against the NFL Players Association, which they accused of concentrating on getting licensing deals for current players while leaving retirees out in the cold.
     Though the union settled that suit for $26 million, Parrish and the others said they could have gotten more had their lawyers presented an email exchange between the NFLPA and Electronic Arts executive Jeremy Stauser showing that the NFLPA refused to permit using the images of retired players in EA’s “Madden NFL” video game.
     Alsup said a successful trial against the lawyers could have yielded damages of $9.3 to $10.6 million, but he found the $3.5 million to be fair and adequate, citing the “difficulties plaintiffs would have faced if they had proceeded to trial.”

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