Judge axes 3 of 4 lawyers in NFL concussion case

By MARYCLAIRE DALE

PHILADELPHIA — The federal judge overseeing the $1 billion NFL concussion settlement has terminated three of four lawyers serving as class counsel.

The surprise order Friday afternoon comes just weeks after a hearing to air complaints about new rules that limit the doctors who can evaluate retired players for dementia and other brain injuries.

Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody says she imposed the 150-miles-from-home rule to thwart doctor shopping and potential fraud alleged by the NFL as the more than $1 billion settlement fund is disbursed.

She has named New York lawyer Christopher Seeger as the only attorney left who can handle issues on behalf of the 20,000-member class.

Outgoing class counsel Gene Locks tells The Associated Press the order Friday “extinguishes any remaining hope” that clients will be protected as they move through the contentious medical testing and award process.

He told Brody at a hearing this month that there aren’t enough qualified neurologists, neuropsychologists and subspecialists taking part in the program to meet the close-to-home rule.

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