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PHILADELPHIA—Former Atlanta Falcons player Ray Easterling, a lead plaintiff in numerous concussion-related lawsuits against the National Football League, died of an apparent suicide last week, a plaintiffs attorney said Wednesday.
Mr. Easterling was one of up to 2,000 plaintiffs in about 60 liability lawsuits against the NFL, said Larry Coben, a partner with Philadelphia law firm Anapol Schwartz P.C. The cases, consolidated into multidistrict litigation in Philadelphia, allege the league negligently misled players about the dangers of concussions and other head injuries.
Mr. Coben said his firm plans to pursue a wrongful death claim against the NFL on behalf of Mr. Easterling. Several other wrongful death claims are included in the NFL lawsuits in relation to other players, he said.
Mary Ann Easterling, Mr. Easterling's wife, said her husband suffered from dementia and depression due to football-related brain injuries, according to a report from Foxsports.com. The outlet said Mr. Easterling died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The NFL is expected to use a workers compensation exclusive remedy defense in the liability lawsuits. The league contends that it did not mislead players about the risks associated with playing football.
CHICAGO—The family of former National Football League player Dave Duerson filed suit against the National Football League on Thursday, alleging the league's concealment of information about concussion risks and failure to take adequate steps to address brain injuries led to brain damage that contributed to Mr. Duerson's suicide last year.