U.S. District Judge William Alsup refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit brought by an NFL player’s widow, who is suing all 32 clubs for allegedly pumping injured players full of painkillers and “dangerous cocktails” to get them back on the field. Lead plaintiff Etopia Evans, widow of the late Charles “Chuck” Evans, who played for the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens, brought the case in May 2015. She said that Evans died alone in a jail cell on 2008 after becoming addicted to opioids while playing professional football.
An attorney for the NFL urged Judge Alsup to dismiss the lawsuit at a June hearing, arguing that the claims were no different than those alleged in another class action, Dent v. NFL, which Alsup dismissed in 2014. In Dent, Alsup found the NFL had no duty to “intervene or stop mistreatment” by the league’s clubs and that the claims were governed by collective bargaining agreements subject to arbitration. However, Alsup found two major differences between Evans and Dent. Evans sued individual NFL teams, not the NFL, and alleges intentional, rather than negligent, conduct.
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