Litigation always has, of course, immediate concerns that are sought to be addressed through a court of law. The parties before a judge or jury tell competing tales, and a judicial outcome has an instant and very real effect on their lives.
There are often ramifications beyond the immediacy that centrally defines a litigated outcome, though. The educational value for the public that can be derived from the material details of a lawsuit can serve as an important feature of litigation, as well.
In other words, a lawsuit — especially a high-profile matter — can be broadly instructive for millions of people.
Take head injury litigation, for example, specifically the large and protracted class-action lawsuit that has pitted the National Football League against many thousands of former players.
Much information of real value regarding traumatic brain injury and its effects has entered the public domain as a result of that litigation. It has spurred debate in national forums, brought changes to safety protocols in sports programs at all levels and fueled contributions for new research efforts.
And, seemingly, it is incapable of ending, which, of course, ensures that it remains a front-page media story.
Evidence of that comes from a quick online search, which reveals myriad stories from earlier this week noting that the massive concussion settlement reached in April of this year between the league and more than 5,000 players has been appealed.
The reason: Some retired players think it is patently unfair, given that it will not provide payments to players who, while currently free of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, will develop that serious condition in the future.
The league and players who agree with the current settlement have until September 15 to file an objection to the appeal.
Source: Reuters, “Former NFL players object to concussion settlement,” Jonathan Stempel, Aug. 17, 2015