January 27, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Lawyers representing 1,300 former NFL players filed notice Tuesday that they plan to appeal a federal judge's dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that teams damaged the players' health by routinely - and often illegally - dispensing painkillers.

The notice was filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The original lawsuit was dismissed in December by Judge William Alsup of the U.S. Northern District in California. He ruled that the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association was the appropriate forum to resolve those claims - and not the court.

The appeal would be heard by a three-judge panel, which ordered supporting briefs in the case by May 7.

An investigation of claims in the lawsuit has also sparked an investigation by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency conducted spot checks of at least five NFL visiting teams' medical staffs last fall as part of an ongoing probe.

The 1,300 former players include dozens who said the teams' lax controls over painkillers continued until 2012. Any violations of the Controlled Substances Act after 2009 could be used in a criminal investigation.

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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