Bloomberg News

NFL Sues Insurers Over Refusal to Defend of Head Injury Lawsuits

August 16, 2012

The National Football League accused more than 30 insurance companies in a lawsuit of refusing to pay for the defense of lawsuits against the league over head injuries suffered by former players.

The NFL is a defendant in at least 143 lawsuits by former players and their spouses, according to a complaint the league filed yesterday in California state court in Los Angeles. The insurers, including Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. and TIG Insurance Co., have refused to defend the NFL in the injury lawsuits, according to the complaint.

The NFL is accused of negligence and failing to inform players of the link between repeated traumatic head impacts and long-term brain injuries, including early onset of Alzheimer’s, dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to a so-called master complaint filed June 7 in federal court in Philadelphia, where 80 cases are consolidated.

The league accuses the insurers of breach of contract and says it has incurred $5 million in attorneys’ fees and other costs to defend against the lawsuits.

“The duty-to-defend policies contractually impose on each issuing insurer a duty to defend any suit against the NFL and/or NFL Properties on account of bodily or personal injury covered or potentially covered by the policy, even if the allegations of the suit are groundless, false or fraudulent,” the NFL said in the complaint.

Janet Ruiz, a spokeswoman for Fireman’s Fund, a unit of Munich-based Allianz SE (ALV), and Paul Rivett, a spokesman for Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. (FFH), the owner of TIG Insurance, didn’t immediately return phone calls to their offices after regular business hours yesterday for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is National Football League v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance, BC490342, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Dunn at adunn8@bloomberg.net


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