Two former University of Washington football players are seeking class-action certification for brain-injury claims against the NCAA and helmet makers, including Riddell Inc.and All-Sports Corp.
Former Huskies quarterback John DuRocher and safety Darrin Harris are the lead plaintiffs in a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis. The suit seeks to certify a class of former NCAA football players who suffered concussions that led to long-term injuries from chronic headaches to Alzheimer’s disease.
"We have not been served with this Complaint," said Stacey Osburn, NCAA director of public and media relations. "We have reviewed a copy and it appears to use language and raise issues similar to the prior potential class action complaints filed. It is not unusual to see competing class action-styled complaints filed as plaintiff's attorneys try to secure a lead position in consolidated litigation. Like the other potential class action complaints filed by other plaintiffs' lawyers, we find allegations against the NCAA to be misleading and erroneous."
The complaint claims defendants were negligent because they knew of the risks of traumatic brain injury resulting from concussions and failed to protect or educate athletes or take steps that would have reduced the risks. Former student athletes seek damages including costs of ongoing medical care and monitoring.
DuRocher and Harris are represented by attorneys from Indianapolis-based Cohen & Malad LLP along with the Dugan Law Firm APLC, Barrett Law Group PA and Douglas H. Gill & Associates.
The suit is the second federal head-injury claim brought against the NCAA by a former football player. Former Eastern Illinois player Adrian Arrington sued in the Northern District of Illinois over repeated concussions. A status hearing in that case is scheduled for Oct. 24.