Lawsuits to be consolidated

Updated: June 6, 2012, 6:57 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Lawyers for former NFL players plan to file a single lawsuit Thursday consolidating scores of complaints brought against the league in the past year accusing the NFL of concealing information linking football-related head injuries to permanent neurological problems.

Plaintiffs lawyers say more than 80 pending lawsuits are consolidated in the "master complaint" being filed in Philadelphia. They involve thousands of retired players.

A federal judicial panel has consolidated the cases before U.S. District Judge Anita Brody. The lawsuits aim to hold the NFL responsible for medical monitoring and treatment of the veteran players.

The plaintiffs include Mary Ann Easterling, the widow of former Atlanta Falcons safety Roy Easterling. The complaint comes less than two months after the 62-year-old Easterling shot himself at their Richmond, Va., home.

According to The Los Angeles Times, a teleconference is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Thursday to address the filing. Mary Ann Easterling and former NFL fullback Kevin Turner are scheduled to speak.

An NFL spokesman did not immediately return messages Wednesday. The league has vehemently denied the accusations in the lawsuits in the past.

The problem of concussions in the NFL has moved steadily into a litigation phase for about a year.

According to an AP review of 81 lawsuits filed through May 25, the plaintiffs include 2,138 players who say the NFL did not do enough to inform them about the dangers of head injuries. The total number of plaintiffs in those cases is 3,356, which includes players, spouses and other relatives or representatives.

Some of the plaintiffs are named in more than one complaint, but the AP count does not include duplicated names in the total.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.