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Disney has reached a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of late football player turned actor Darryl Hammond.
Hammond died Feb. 19, 2017, following a battle with ALS and his wife Robin Hammond in February 2019 sued Disney, Paramount, the Arena Football League and others after an autopsy revealed he had suffered more than 200 concussions. The suit claimed his 15 years of arena football, and the playing he did while working as an extra on The Longest Yard and Invincible, caused brain injury and that the defendants knew or should have known such injuries are a substantial risk and studies indicate they can cause early-onset Alzheimers, dementia, depression, mood swings and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). In Invincible, Disney’s 2006 movie starring Mark Wahlberg, Hammond played Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Harold Carmichael.
The suit asked the court for a declaration that defendants knew or should have known the repeated and unnecessary head trauma her husband endured was likely to cause brain injury and they willfully and intentionally concealed the risk.
In September 2020, L.A. County Superior Court Judge David Sotelo denied the studios’ motion to dismiss the complaint finding that Hammond’s family sufficiently alleged claims for concealment and nondisclosure.
Disney on Wednesday filed a motion asking Sotelo for a judicial good faith determination regarding its settlement with the Hammonds. The procedure is common when settlements come in the midst of ongoing multiparty litigation, and here, Paramount Pictures and the Arena Football League (now in bankruptcy) remain defendants. According to the filing, the deal was reached July 27 following extensive discovery.
The settlement itself is confidential and currently sealed, but Disney’s filing says it is paying the family “a fair and reasonable sum” to resolve its portion of the dispute. (It has shared the terms with the remaining defendants.) The company maintains there is no evidence that Hammond “was injured in any way while filming scripted and meticulously choreographed non-contact, or limited contact, football scenes in connection with Invincible” but it made the deal to avoid the burden an expense of continuing the litigation.
A hearing on the motion is currently set for Aug. 30, and the filing is embedded below.
Paramount has not yet responded to a request for comment.
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