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From Products Liability Law Daily, July 8, 2016

Retired NFL star claims Riddell helmets did not protect him from brain trauma

By John W. Scanlan, J.D.

Former NFL great Paul Hornung and his wife have brought failure to warn claims in Illinois state court against Riddell, alleging that he developed dementia and other neurological diseases due to the helmet maker’s failure to warn him that their football helmets would not protect him from sustaining brain traumas while playing football. The suit seeks unspecified money damages exceeding $50,000 (Hornung v BRG Sports, LLC, July 7, 2016).

Specific claims. Both Hornung and his wife Angela brought failure to warn claims against Riddell, stating that he had been injured as a result of the company’s negligent acts and omissions. Angela Hornung also alleged loss of consortium resulting from the injuries to her husband.

General allegations. According to the complaint, Hornung wore a leather helmet without a face mask while in college, but in the NFL wore plastic helmets manufactured by Riddell that Hornung and other players allegedly were led to believe were safer than leather helmets but which the complaint argued actually provided no protection from brain injuries. Hornung stated that during his NFL career he, like other players, sustained a number of concussive and sub-concussive brain traumas, and that while Riddell knew of the long-term effects of such injuries, it misrepresented and concealed these facts from him in order to induce him to continue using their helmets and the public to continue purchasing them. As a result, the complaint stated, Hornung developed dementia and other neurological diseases that resulted from repetitive head trauma.

His attorneys, who also are representing other pro athletes (or their estates) bringing their own concussion-related suits, asserted in a press release that there were studies as far back as the 19th century linking head trauma to permanent brain damage and that concussions happen frequently in the NFL.

The case is No. 2016-L-006686.

Attorneys: Thomas Demetrio (Corboy & Demetrio) for Paul and Angela Hornung.

Companies: BRG Sports, LLC; Easton-Bell Sports, LLC; EB Sports Corp.; BRG Sports Holdings Corp.; RBG Holdings Corp.; BRG Sports, Inc.; Riddell Sports Group, Inc.; Riddell, Inc.; All American Sports Corp.; Fenway Partners, LLC

MainStory: TopStory WarningsNews DamagesNews SportsandRecEquipmentNews IllinoisNews

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