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Stop AB 1309Bill Insulates Wealthy NFL Teams From Liability for Past Head Injuries


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 6, 2013
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546,; Twitter: @shopcraft
AB 1309 is the opening salvo in an attack on a worker’s right to be compensated for cumulative injuries suffered on the job. It changes decades of legal precedent that allows out of state workers who are hurt while working in California to file in California for worker compensation benefits. Worst of all it applies retroactively to eliminate existing liability for disa bilities for repeated concussions that may not become apparent for years to come.

AB 1309 is being sold as a protection for California business from out of state players who are taking advantage of California’s worker’s compensation system. In hearings and in press releases the proponents argue that unless AB 1309 is passed that the California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) would go broke and not be there to protect California workers and businesses. But AB 1309 is silent on this issue. Proposals to protect CIGA were ignored. There is not one word in AB 1309 about CIGA.

AB 1309 is being portrayed as an effort to prevent rich athletes from taking advantage of worker compensation laws after they have earned millions on the playing field. The truth is most athletes have very short careers and even fewer of them make the millions of dollars a year that grab headlines. Certainly not the thousands of minor league athletes who often make near poverty wages. But AB 1309 restricts worker compensation benefits for minor league players also.

What is AB 1309 really about? Wealthy team owners, spearheaded by the National Football League, don’t want to have to pay worker compensation benefits for athletes who were injured and have lost the ability to earn a living. In particular, the NFL is trying to escape liability for decades of callous neglect of players with concussions. Modern medical research shows there is a clear link between head injuries and a whole host of neurological outcomes. Many of these outcomes take years to manifest and what AB 1309 is about is the NFL avoiding liability for these injuries in the future. That is why the bill applies retroactively – to insulate the NFL for all past injuries for players who don’t meet AB 1309’s rigid new rules on who can file a claim for worker’s compensation in California.

AB 1309 does not just protect wealthy team owners. It establishes a precedent for denying worker compensation benefits to other workers with cumulative injuries. If AB 1309 passes it will be followed by bills requiring similar standards be met by grocery clerks, office staff, manual laborers, nurses, truck drivers, warehouse workers, farmworkers and other workers.


Vote No on AB 1309
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