District Court Rules that Former NFL Players’ Concussion-Related Claims are NOT Preempted by CBA

On May 14, 2014, the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, issued an Order remanding Green v. Arizona Cardinals Football Club, LLC, 4:14-cv-00461-CDP (E.D. Mo.) (“Green”), to the Circuit Court for the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, St. Louis, Missouri, from which it was removed. Doc. #33, 4:14-cv-00461-CDP. The District Court denied defendant’s motion to stay proceedings and remanded Green over the defendant’s objections.

In Green, the Court held that the players’ claims were neither created by nor require the interpretation of a CBA. Id, at p. 13. As for the negligence claim, the Court held as follows:

“Unlike the negligence claim in Gore [v. Trans World Airlines, 210 F.3d 944 (8th Cir. 2000)], here the duties arise out of the common law based upon the employer-employee relationship and not out of any particular terms in the CBAs. The reasonableness of the Team’s actions towards [Plaintiff] Scott cannot depend upon an interpretation of a CBA, as Scott was never bound by the contract. It stands to reason, then, that the other plaintiffs’ negligence claims do not necessarily depend upon an interpretation of the CBAs, so far as the duties owed them and the standards applied to their claims derive from the same source as for Scott.” Id. at p.

As for the negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment claims, the District Court held that, “[a]s with their negligence claims, the plaintiffs’ negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment actions arise independent of the CBAs as a function of the common law and thus are not preempted.” Id. at pp. 16-17.

“Because the plaintiffs’ claims can be determined without interpreting the CBAS,” the Court stated, “I do not have subject-matter jurisdiction over this case.” Id.

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