The family of legendary linebacker Junior Seau has settled its wrongful death lawsuit with the NFL for an undisclosed sum of money. Seau, who was 43 when he committed suicide in 2012, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalophy (CTE), the neurodegenerative disease that has been found in over one hundred deceased NFL players.
The Seau family sued the NFL in California in 2013, alleging that his suicide was the result of the brain damage he suffered during his 20-year professional career. The case was subsequently consolidated with hundreds of similar suits in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The NFL eventually agreed to a settlement for damages that would pay a deceased player’s family up to $4 million for a death related to CTE. There are currently more than 20,000 registered class members.
The Seau family, along with almost 100 others, opted out of the class action to pursue their own lawsuit. Legal experts speculate that the NFL paid more than $4 million to the Seau family to drop the case. It is unclear how much of an impact his outsized legacy played in the negotiations, and what impact the settlement will have on the other lawsuits being pursued outside of the class action.
Buddy Bardenwerper is a Sports Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current first year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2021).