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NFL Class Counsel Alleges Link Between Roger Stone and Rival Attorney

Former Trump adviser Roger Stone departs Federal Court after attending his arraignment hearing, where he pleaded not guilty, in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 29, 2019. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

From the Watergate scandal to the investigation of Russian influence on the 2016 election, longtime political insider and self-described "dirty trickster" Roger Stone has been linked to a long list of highly contentious disputes that have had ramifications across the country. Now, the NFL concussion class action settlement can be added to that list.

Earlier this week, a lead attorney representing the class of retired National Football League players entered a filing that alleges there is a link between Stone and a south Florida attorney, who represents nearly 90 ex-players and has been a vocal critical of the class action's leadership.

Seeger Weiss attorney Chris Seeger, who is co-lead class counsel in the litigation, entered a filing Tuesday saying that North Palm Beach attorney Patrick Tighe of X1Law has been working with Stone to "sow the 'media' with misinformation," and spread "conspiracy theories and falsehoods about the settlement."

Speaking Friday, Tighe said he has no relationship with Stone, and that he was "puzzled" by the filing.

"I have nothing to do with Roger Stone," he said. "My real question is why doesn't Mr. Seeger have urgency for these class members to get paid."

Seeger's filing stems from an order that U.S. District Judge Anita Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who is overseeing the implementation of the concussion settlement, issued last month. That order directed the settlement claims administrator to clarify the rules about what standards certain doctors should use when determining whether a former player sustained an injury qualifying them to receive settlement funds. Brody indicated in the order that the court would then need to review and approve the clarification.

Brody issued the order after the NFL dropped its appeal of seven cases that raised issues about the standards for qualifying the ex-players if the diagnosing doctor deviated from certain diagnostic criteria.

After Brody entered the order, Tighe, who has clashed with Seeger on a number of issues that have arisen in the litigation, filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider, contending that her ruling went beyond the issues the NFL raised on appeal, and that the players should be able to have input if the clarification changes the rules. On Friday, Tighe said he also the challenge to preserve any issues his clients may want to appeal.

Seeger's filing from Wednesday, however, opposed Tighe's motion, and said none of Tighe's cases involve the issues that were on appeal and that the court's order made no changes to the standards.

The six-page filing went on to say that Tighe has been an "active collaborator with various interest sites and 'media' sources" to spread conspiracies about the settlement.

Specifically, the filing claims Tighe is a "go-to source" for Stone, and the blog "Advocacy for Fairness in Sports," both of which have been highly critical of the settlement. The filing also said Tighe was a guest on a broadcast of Infowars, which is a far-right wing commentary website and media outlet led by the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. In the segment, Tighe contended that the NFL orchestrated a "dysfunctional" settlement program and used the controversy about players kneeling during the national anthem to distract the public, the filing said.

"Moreover, since the order challenged by Mr. Tighe was entered, on January 17, 2019, Mr. Stone has echoed the position asserted by Mr. Tighe," Seeger said in the filing.

The NFL also entered a filing Tuesday that opposed Tighe's reconsideration motion, saying Brody's order requesting clarification had "no effect whatsoever on the meaning of that standard."