* Seeks to force insurers to defend brain injury suits
* NFL also wants more than $5 million in damages
* Insurance policies at issue date to 1968
Aug 16 The National Football League has filed a
lawsuit against nearly three dozen insurance companies, seeking
to force them to defend the league against mounting brain injury
claims by former players and their families.
The suit, filed late Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior
Court, names virtually every major insurer in the country, led
by the Allianz -owned Fireman's Fund. All the firms
were involved in coverage for the league or its affiliates at
some point between the late 1960s and today.
The NFL said it was a defendant in at least 143 bodily or
personal injury suits, and that its insurers were obligated to
defend the league under its general liability policies, which
the group said they had not provided.
"As a direct and proximate result of said insurers' breach
of their contractual duty to defend the NFL and NFL Properties
in and against the injury lawsuits, Plaintiffs have suffered
damages in attorneys' fees and other costs incurred to defend
against those suits," the NFL alleges in its complaint, adding
it was entitled to at least $5 million in damages.
A spokeswoman for Fireman's Fund was not immediately
available to comment on the complaint.
Retired players in increasing numbers are taking action
against the NFL over brain injuries they claim to have suffered
playing football. At least some of the suits allege the league
deliberately and fraudulently concealed the risks of injury, a
charge it vehemently denies.
Several retired NFL players have committed suicide in recent
years by shooting themselves in the chest, in some cases with
the explicit goal of preserving their brains for study.
The case is National Football League et. al. vs. Fireman's
Fund Insurance Co. et. al., California Superior Court, Los
Angeles County, No. 490342.