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Federal appeals court affirms $50M settlement over publicity rights for retired NFL players

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MINNEAPOLIS — A federal appeals court has upheld a judge's approval of a $50 million settlement in a lawsuit over publicity rights for retired NFL players.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected arguments by several retirees — including Jim Marshall, Joe Senser and Dan Pastorini — that the class-action settlement on behalf of around 25,000 players was unfair.

A key objection was that the settlement didn't call for direct payments to former players. Instead, it set up a $42 million fund to help retired players with issues like medical expenses, housing and career transition. The settlement also established a licensing agency for retirees to ensure compensation for the use of their identities.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled in 2013 that the settlement was fair, reasonable and adequate.

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