Jury awards $11.5 million in helmet lawsuit
The family of a partially paralyzed high school athlete wins verdict against helmet maker, Riddell.
Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Right as 4,000 former NFL players began filing legal claims of negligence against the league and athletic headgear company, Riddell, for concussion related injuries, a jury in Colorado has ruled against the company in another lawsuit.
In the summer of 2008, 17-year-old Rhett Ridolfi began experiencing severe side effects after he suffered a concussion during a Trinidad High School football practice. The teen wasn't immediately taken to the hospital and now suffers from severe brain damage, as well as partial paralysis.
“He has no judgment control, he has no concerns for safety for himself…he’s missing the part of the brain we all have that controls those things,” said Ridolfi’s attorney Frank Azar.
Ridolfi's family sued Riddell as well as several high school administrators and football coaches.
The jury in Las Animas County found that Riddell was negligent in failing to warn people using their helmets about concussion dangers. The jury assessed 27 percent of the fault for Rhett Ridolfi's injuries, making the company responsible for paying $3.1 million of the damages, reports USA Today.
Three of the defendants in the case reached private settlements before the verdict, but two coaches were still on trial. Azar said that he'll request a judge to find Riddell responsible for paying all $11.5 million in damages.
Riddell said it would appeal the verdict but was happy that jurors rejected allegations of the helmet's design defects.
“While disappointed in the jury’s decision not to fully exonerate Riddell, we are pleased the jury determined that Riddell’s helmet was not defective in any way. We are confident that the jury would have reached a different conclusion had the Court not erroneously excluded the testimony of our warnings expert.” the company said in a statement “We intend to appeal this verdict, and we remain steadfast in our belief that Riddell designs and manufactures the most protective football headgear for the athlete.”
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