Tag Archives: wrongful death

Who’s to Blame for Iowa High School Football Player’s Concussion?

(Editor’s Note: What follows is a brief excerpt from a contributed article in the July 2015 Concussion Litigation Alert. For the rest of the article and numerous others, please subscribe at https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

By Clayton Hasbrook, of Hasbrook & Hasbrook

The details surrounding high schooler Kacey Strough’s football-related brain injury are tragic. So many things happened to the student that parents and the public never want to see happen to any of our children.

But who is to blame? We all need to think through the answer to that question.

Strough, who lived with his grandmother, was a 16-year-old freshman in Bedford, Iowa, when he first suited up for the high school football team in October 2012. Today, at age 18, he has suffered permanent brain damage, is unable to walk, and uses a wheelchair.

Shortly after he took to the field as a rookie on the Bedford High team, Strough was bullied by fellow teammates, who repeatedly threw footballs at his head from six feet away. Soon after that, Strough began complaining that he was experiencing headaches and double vision. He went to the school nurse to report his symptoms. The youth continued to participate in football practice.

What nobody, not even Strough and his family, knew … (to read the rest of the story, please consider subscribing)

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Read the Latest about Today’s Sports Concussion Issue

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

Of noteworthy interest are the newly filed documents in a proposed class-action lawsuit brought against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that reveal internal emails and other new evidence of the NCAA’s knowledge of and failure to mitigate concussions in college sports…

  • Football’s Headache: The Concussion Litigation
  • Family of Former NFL Player Targets NFL, Others with Wrongful Death Suit
  • Attorneys Seek To Expand Concussion Litigation Against NCAA
  • Arrington’s Attorney Discusses Objective of Class Certification Bid against NCAA
  • Attorneys: New Documents in NCAA Concussions Case Illuminate NCAA Knowledge of Concussion Issues
  • Parents of Player, Who Suffered Concussion, Sue Little League Baseball Inc.
  • Michigan Follows National Trend, Passes New Sports Concussion Law
  • Attorneys Discuss the Interplay Between Athletic Trainers, Athletes, Coaches, Parents & Physicians
  • Scientists Zero in on Ways to Measure the Cumulative Effect of Head Hits in Football

In the field of research, scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have developed a new way to measure the cumulative effect of impacts to the head incurred by football players.

See Concussion Litigation Reporter for all the articles in this month’s issue.

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Expert Analysis: Seau’s Family Sues the NFL

(Editor’s Note: What follows is Paul D. Anderson’s analysis of the suit brought by Junior Seau’s family against the NFL. Paul is the editor of Concussion Litigation Reporter and founder and editor of NFL Concussion Litigation)

In another not-so-surprising fashion, the family of the late Junior Seau filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL and Riddell Helmets.

This will certainly provide a boost to the litigation. Seau is arguably the most prominent player, living or deceased, to join the litigation. (Sorry, Eric Dickerson) Whether this will force the NFL’s hand to start talking settlement is highly doubtful, but it may cause other prominent players to join the NFL Concussion Litigation Club.

Two weeks ago, it was announced that Seau’s brain showed signs of the debilitating neurodegenerative disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Shortly after the announcement was made, the NFL issued a statement – effectively thanking the Seau family for deciding to sue it: “We appreciate the Seau family’s cooperation with the National Institutes of Health.”

These results may have been the turning point in the Seau’s family’s decision to sue the NFL.

Seau’s lawsuit is not unique, however. There are a dozen wrongful death lawsuits pending against the NFL – the most notable are Dave Duerson and Andre Waters, both of whom were diagnosed with CTE.

Seau, however, is the youngest, and he played during an era where the alleged fraud of the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee (1994 – 2009) was likely at its peak.

Similar to the other lawsuits filed outside of Philadelphia (E.D. of PA), Seau’s lawsuit will soon be removed to federal court and then transferred and consolidated with the other 198 concussion lawsuits.

Assuming the players survive all the pre-trial hurdles – which is a BIG assumption – there is a chance that Seau’s lawsuit may be chosen as the first bellwether case. In other words, the plaintiffs’ lawyers may choose to try Seau’s case because it arguably has the best facts.

Bellwether cases are common in mass tort litigation; the purpose is to give an indication to both sides (i.e. plaintiff sand defendants) as to the value, among other things, of the case.

In theory, if the plaintiffs were to try Seau’s case and receive a huge verdict, the NFL would likely want to talk a global settlement to avoid multiple verdicts throughout the country. On the other hand, if Seau’s lawsuit fell on deaf ears and the jury provided a defense verdict, the NFL would – puff out its chest – tell the plaintiffs’ lawyers to bring on more cases – that will, perhaps, be defeated.

All of this talk about jury trials is YEARS away, however. The discovery process alone could take 2-15 years, add all the motion practice, and I don’t think a case would be tried, IF at all, until 2018 at the earliest.

Only time will tell whether Seau’s  lawsuit was the one that broke the NFL’s back.

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