A group of 28 retired NFL players, including Hall of Famers Carl Eller, Chuck Bednarik and John Hannah, filed a federal class-action lawsuit Tuesday against the NFL Players Association, union president DeMaurice Smith, Pats QB Tom Brady and former player Mike Vrabel according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports.
The suit claims that once the NFLPA decertified March 11, just prior to being locked out by the NFL, the defendants had “no authority” to negotiate, let alone agree to, the terms of retiree benefits during the labor dispute.
“They were not a union at that time,” Michael Hausfeld, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, told Yahoo! Sports.
As such, any agreement concerning pension, retiree health care or other issues was not properly agreed, Hausfeld said. The suit seeks a declaration that the “right to negotiate with the League the rights and benefits for NFL retirees” rests with the Eller plaintiffs. Hausfeld said the lawsuit does not threaten the labor peace reached by last month’s collective bargaining agreement, which saved the 2011 season.
The 51-page suit was filed in United States District Court in Minnesota. George Atallah, the NFLPA’s assistant executive director of external affairs, declined comment on the suit Wednesday evening. The individual players could not be immediately reached for comment.