A federal appeals court in northern Georgia has ruled against a law firm’s claim to former NFL players’ retirement benefits, and in favor of an ERISA pension and welfare plan.
A three-member panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed 3-0 to uphold a lower court ruling in favor of The Retirement Board of the Bert Bell/Peter Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, a retirement system for ex-players governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 — and against attorney Kurt R. Ward, Atlanta, GA.
The Ward Firm brought suit against retired NFL players, Odessa Turner and Marvin Woodson, after they failed to pay a percentage of their retirement benefits in legal fees. After the former players failed to appear in court, Ward was awarded default judgment for all benefits from the Bell/Rozelle Retirement Plan.