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Football Helmet Found Not Liable for Brain Injury Suffered at Local Football Game

The Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for less than an hour Thursday before finding in favor of Riddell Sports Inc. in a lawsuit brought on behalf of plaintiff Edward Acuna.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A jury determined that a football helmet maker should not be held liable for a brain injury suffered by a member of the Garey High School team in Pomona in 2009.

The Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for less than an hour Thursday before finding in favor of Riddell Sports Inc. in a lawsuit brought on behalf of plaintiff Edward Acuna. The trial was in its fourth week.

Earlier in the day, Acuna sat in the front row of downtown Los Angeles courtroom with his parents, Luis and Teresa Acuna, as lawyers made their final pitches to the jury regarding the design of the Riddell Revolution helmet.

Acuna attorney Ronald Goldman said his client, 21, will need around-the- clock care for the rest of his life. He recommended that jurors award Acuna more than $37 million to compensate him for lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Using charts to illustrate his points, Goldman told jurors that Acuna might not have been permanently injured if the helmet had forehead padding made of vinyl nitrile instead of polyurethane.

Acuna was 17 when he was hurt on Oct. 16, 2009 while playing defensive tackle in a game against Montclair High School.

But defense lawyer James Yukevich said the subdural hematoma, or bridging vein injury, suffered by Acuna resulted from his head being violently turned to the right during the tackle.

Yukevich said that the Revolution helmet has been extensively tested since it was created in 2005 and that vinyl nitrile does not protect wearers, whether Pop Warner or NFL players, to the same extent as polyurethane.

"It doesn't matter how many times we get sued, we're never going to put that padding in our helmets," Yukevich said.

Yukevich said the plaintiffs initially claimed Acuna was hurt while tackling a Montclair High player, then later claimed he was involved in a head- to-head collision with one of his own teammates playing cornerback.

Acuna's 56-year-old father filed the suit on his son's behalf in August 2010. According to trial testimony, Acuna jogged to the sideline after being hit during the football game, then collapsed and lost consciousness. He spent 11 days in a coma, was hospitalized a total of 4 1/2 months and will need lifetime care, according to the previous testimony.

Goldman said Acuna could live another 49 to 56 years, based on an expert's opinion.

—City News Service

joebanana March 23, 2014 at 11:53 AM
No they didn't, Riddell just paid more in "court fee's". We wouldn't have "safety glass" in our automobiles, if Auto glass manufacturers would have paid the "court fee's".
Ray Russell March 23, 2014 at 02:45 PM
Strange that the football player holds no responsability for playing a game that can and does cause frequent injury to its players! If the equipment isn't faulty then the mfg can't be held liable. And court fees have nothing to do with a juries decisions. The veracity of the lawyers, witnesses, and plaintiffs often does though!
joebanana March 23, 2014 at 03:42 PM
Apparently you're not familiar with SBx2-11, Look it up If you doubt me. It legalizes judicial bribery in LA county. Google Attorney Richard Fine, for supporting horrors. LA county superior judges are state employees. LA county pays these judges $57,000 a year above their state salary, "to attract and retain "good judges". These payments were ruled unconstitutional and "not permitted". Meaning these judges could be sued for receiving "not permitted payments", and NOT disclosing these payments to litigants, and not recusing themselves from cases involving the county, AND have to repay all those millions of dollars. So, these same judges lobbied for legislation, with taxpayer funds, for a bill legitimizing these payments, and to give RETROACTIVE immunity for the money they took. Didn't hear about that on Faux news did ya?
joebanana March 23, 2014 at 03:43 PM
Oh, and by "court fee's" I meant "judicial bribery".
joebanana March 23, 2014 at 03:44 PM
Also, in a 3 year span LA county won 98% of their cases.

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