Judge Grants Summary Judgment to Arena Football One

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from the recent issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To read the full article, please subscribe at http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

A federal judge from the Eastern District of Louisiana has granted partial summary judgment to Arena Football One (AFO) in a case in which it was sued by a player, who suffered multiple concussions while playing in the league.

In so ruling, the court relied on two pivotal findings; that the plaintiff had failed to demonstrate that AFO intended for the plaintiff to get hurt and second that there is no direct nexus between playing football and suffering a concussion.

By way of background, plaintiff Lorenzo Breland alleged that he sustained his initial concussion while playing for the Tulsa Talons in 2011, which is part of the AFO.

After the team doctor diagnosed Breland with a concussion, he alleged the team encouraged him to return and he started the following game. Subsequently, he played for the New Orleans Voodoo. The plaintiff alleged that he sustained a severe blow to the head during a game on April 11, 2014, which caused a second concussion. Breland claimed that, after the 2014 incident, he received inadequate medical attention and care and was pressured to return to playing football before he was fully rehabilitated. He alleged that, after complaining to the coach about his continued health problems, he was sent to a speech pathologist. The plaintiff alleged that this head injury caused him to remain bedridden for six weeks, and that he was ultimately suspended from the league and cut from the Voodoo. Breland claimed that the second concussion ended his career, and the defendants did not pay for his ongoing medical care or rehabilitation to allow him to return to play in a healthy manner. The plaintiff alleged that he continues to suffer long-term problems, including dizziness, memory loss, headaches, weight loss, neck aches and fatigue, and that he faces an increased risk for future disorders as a result of the injuries.

As part of his lawsuit, he asked for damages, past and future medical expenses related to the concussions, and medical monitoring to facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of future disorders caused by the injuries. The plaintiff claimed …

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