Category Archives: Litigation

January Issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter

The latest issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter has been posted for subscribers.

  • NFL’s Disability  Board’s Acknowledgement of Mike Webster’s Head Injuries While Playing: A  Vicious Hit to NFL’s Position in Concussion Litigation? By Jarett Warner
  • Cheerleading — the Forgotten Sport By Paul Anderson
  • Ohio Governor Signs Concussion Law  that Includes Younger Athletes, Introduces ‘Accountability’ By Holt Hackney
  • Cheerleader Sues   School District,  Coaches, Claiming Negligence By Holt Hackney
  • Sudden Impact: Liability for Sports  Related Concussions By John McKiggan
  • Ivy  League Concussion Policy Strives to Reduce Exposure By Brian Hendrickson
  • Lomas Brown and the Concussion Issue By Holt Hackney
  • Deciphering the Drew Tate Concussion Controversy By Holt Hackney with Jon Heshka

See Concussion Litigation Reporter for this month’s issue.

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Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Forthcoming in the Belcher Case?

A Chicago attorney speculated over the weekend that a wrongful death lawsuit may be forthcoming in the murder-suicide tragedy involving NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher.

Some have speculated that concussions played a role in Belcher’s erratic decision process.

Attorney Gary Annes of Abels & Annes, P.C. (www.daveabels.com) drew a parallel between the Belcher case and other notable wrongful death lawsuits.

“Right now, the legal possibilities are up in the air. With the Jovan Belcher situation it is impossible right now to tell if a civil suit case will occur,” said Annes. “It is up to the families of the victims and their attorneys to decide.”

He went on to note that a “wrongful death lawsuit can stem from many things, including auto accidents, premises liability, work injury, medical malpractice, construction accident, nursing home neglect or abuse, and from other types of negligence. The following cases show how wrongful death lawsuits can emerge from such high profile incidents:

“The OJ Simpson Civil Trial (No. SC031947 Cal. Super. Ct. filed July 20, 1994): Former NFL great and actor O.J. Simpson is one of most notorious figures to ever be held financially liable for another’s death. After Simpson was acquitted in 1995 on criminal charges, he was sued in civil court by the Brown and Goldman families for the wrongful death of their loved ones. According to ABC News, in 1997, a civil jury found Simpson liable for the two deaths, and ordered him to pay $33.5 million to the families of murder victims Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

“The Phil Hartman Murder-Suicide (Case number B C210990): In a situation similar to the Jovan Belcher incident, ‘Saturday Night Live’ actor and comedian Phil Hartman was shot to death by his wife, Brynn Hartman, who then took her own life. According to reports, Brynn Hartman’s family sued Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the anti-depressant Zoloft, which Brynn was taking for panic attacks. According to court documents, the family alleged that the drug drove Brynn to insanity, which caused her to shoot her husband and herself. The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount.

“The Dave Duerson Concussion Lawsuit (Case Number 2011N-0155): A wrongful death lawsuit was brought against the NFL by the family of former NFL star Dave Duerson. According to court documents, the family alleged that the league didn’t do enough to prevent or treat the string of concussions that severely damaged his brain before he killed himself last year. The case is still in progress.”

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Provost Umphrey Goes on Offensive about Concussed Players Receiving Benefits

The Provost Umphrey Law Firm LLP recently cited documents that reveal that retired players had received benefits from NFL as a result of suffering multiple concussions over the course of their careers.

This is significant because “many former players have filed a lawsuit against the NFL due to the connection between multiple concussions leading to long-term health problems. The league has denied that concussions from playing are leading to these health concerns, and has stated that there is still not evidence to establish a connection.

“Recently, it was revealed that the league had paid benefits to at least three former players because of disabilities caused due to concussions. Mike Webster, a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, died in 2002. After his death, it was determined that his brain showed signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which has been linked to several other former NFL players that have passed away.

“Webster had requested disability benefits from the league in 2000, and the NFL’s retirement board granted his request. The board determined, and independent doctors confirmed, that Webster’s disabilities were the result of injuries suffered due to repeated blows to the head. The board is independent of the league, as it is made up of a combination of owner and player representatives.

“This evidence makes it extremely difficult for the league to state that there was no link proving that playing football caused these permanent injuries. If you or a loved one has played in the NFL, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at this time to discuss your options. The signs of long-term health problems may still lie uncovered, and players need to be prepared for what could arise in the future.”

The firm (www.provostumphrey.com) finished its message by noting that “the NFL is aggressively contesting the claims of the former players, and that it is prepared to “stand up” for the “rights” of players.

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