Louisiana Record

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Ex-football player sues employers over brain injuries

By Carol Ostrow | Jul 6, 2015

A professional indoor football player sued his former employers following a series of head injuries that ended his 2010-2014 career.

Lorenzo Breland of Mississippi sued Arena Football One LLC and New Orleans Voodoo Football Inc. in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana June 22, alleging tortious interference by failing to take responsibility for his medical expenses following a concussion.

The suit states that Breland suffered MTBI (mild traumatic brain injuries) during his 2010-14 employment as a member of the defendants’ arena football league, playing an indoor sport similar to stadium football.

According to the filing, Breland was pressured to keep playing after serious head injuries in 2014, then placed on inactive status with a pay cut, and finally suspended from the league and terminated. The complaint states that the defendants abandoned him, refusing to pay for his medical care and rehabilitation in alleged violation of contract.

Blaming the defendants for negligent misrepresentation, intentional fraud, and bad-faith breach of contract, the suit states that the businesses should have known of the dangers, symptoms and repercussions of head injuries, including the possibility of delayed symptoms surfacing days or hours after an incident.

The plaintiff alleges dizziness, memory loss, migraines, weight loss and other symptoms. The suit states that the defendants should have known that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is prevalent in athletes with repeated head trauma; and asserts that the industry “has fostered an environment of violence and brutality for the sake of entertainment,” sending “modern-day gladiators…to break each others’ backs in astroturfed coliseums.”

Seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees, expenses, and court costs, Breland is represented by Galen Hair, Alejandro Rodriguez, and Andrew Jacoby of Varadi, Hair & Checki in New Orleans; and Joseph (Joey) LaHatte III and Kristin Barone of LaHatte Law Firm in Metairie.

U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana Case 2:15-cv-02258-EEF-DEK

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