National Football League


Last month, I wrote about the NFL’s push to get the Florida legislature to pass a reciprocity bill to lock down professional athlestes into the Florida W/C system. 

Sorry for missing this, but it looks like SB 1286 passed, after morphing into House bill HB 723, which you can read here.

Feel free to review my analysis of this new statute here.  The next step is either Governor Rick Scott vetoing the bill, signing the bill, or doing nothing.  The last two decisions result in the bill becoming law.  

What the state’s professional football teams will do is still not official yet, but once I get analysis on the effect of the law (if signed) on the average workforce I will report.

Well, I’m on a roll.

I just attended the Florida Bar Workers’ Compensation Forum, and our section President was kind enough to give us a legislative update.  Since Emma Murray and the upheaval to remove “reasonable” from chapter 440, the Legislature has been relative quiet on the W/C front. 

However, our section President informed the Forum that there is a new Senate bill, lobbied by the National Football League, that would stop Claimants from seeking out-of-state W/C benefits; mainly from California.  You can see the Senate Bill, SB 1286, here.   It creates a new statute in Chapter 440, section 440.094, titled “Extraterritorial Reciprocity”.    The intent is to prevent the current rush of out of state claims from former players towards California  courts, were the W/C laws are the most liberal.

Since I’ve written about the NFL before, I think this bill is a wonderful step forward for the League to embrace head trauma injuries into the W/C fold and limit their exposure for future claims.

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Not long ago, I wrote about the growing litigation of former NFL players suing for Workers’ Compensation benefits in California as a means to increase their benefits for the alleged effects the sport has on their diagnosed dementia.   Since then, the NFL has issued warnings to its current players about the long term effects of concussions and the symptoms that occur with head injuries.  They should be applauded for the move, but is it enough?

Now, HBO–the cable network–just released a fascinating news piece from its Emmy award winning sports show “Real Sports” about a direct link between concussions in football (and all sports) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  You can view a sample of the video here. (more…)

The New York Times has an interesting piece on the growing litigation of former NFL players suing for Workers’ Compensation benefits in California as a means to increase their benefits for the alleged effects the sport has on their diagnosed dementia.  While I will not assume I have knowledge of California law, I would like to explore the possibilities of this occurring in the State of Florida.

Considering Florida has three NFL teams, one as old as 1966, there is a significant pool of potential Claimants this can affect.  First, we have to remember that professional athletes are excluded from the Workers’ Compensation Act, if they are performing their “athletic duties.”  A professional athlete can receive benefits if they are working in a non-athletic capacity, like at a team press conference.

But, there are professional sports teams in Florida who do decide to voluntary carry Workers’ Comp coverage.  If any one of our three NFL teams does do that, then this analysis would apply. (more…)