* Seeks to avoid paying to defend lawsuits
* NFL facing claims from thousands of ex-players
* Dozens of insurers, NFL at odds over costs
By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK, Aug 22 Several subsidiaries of
Travelers Companies Inc sued the National Football
League and a host of other insurers, seeking to avoid paying to
defend the league against a wave of brain injury-related claims
by thousands of former players and their families.
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in New York State Supreme
Court, one week after the NFL sued three dozen insurance
companies in an effort to force them to cover the costs of
defending the claims.
According to the Travelers lawsuit, the company provided
liability coverage for NFL Properties, the league's
merchandising arm, but not the NFL and should not be required to
pay for a joint defense. The insurer points out that a "master
complaint" filed jointly by some 2,000 former players in June
alleges 14 counts against the league, but only two against NFL
"Travelers is not required to pay any defense costs of the
NFL with respect to the underlying lawsuits," Travelers said in
The insurance companies sued by the NFL and named as
defendants in the Travelers lawsuit provided coverage to the NFL
or one of its affiliates sometime between the 1960s and today.
"Last week, the NFL filed a comprehensive lawsuit in
California against 32 insurers to ensure an orderly and
comprehensive determination of its insurance rights and its
carriers' obligations," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "This
new filing by Travelers does not alter our objectives."
The NFL is facing a growing number of claims from former
players who say football left them with debilitating brain
injuries. Some of the lawsuits accuse the league of deliberately
hiding known injury risks to profit from the game's hard-hitting
style, a charge the NFL has rejected.
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 Discover Property & Casualty Co. et al. vs.
National Football League et al., New York State Supreme Court,
New York County, No. 652933/2012.