A Colorado jury, in a lawsuit brought by the family of a severely injured high school football player, has found helmet maker Riddell negligent in failing to warn players about concussion dangers. The ruling comes as the company faces a similar lawsuit in Los Angeles. There are also thousands of former NFL players suing the league and Riddell. The jury awarded $11.5 million to the family of the player, Rhett Ridolfi, who suffered a concussion during practice at Trinidad High School in 2008. Ridolfi, now 22, wasn’t immediately taken to the hospital and now has severe brain damage, as well as paralysis on his left side.
The lawsuit was originally filed against Riddell and several high school administrators and football coaches in Las Animas County. The jury assessed 27 percent of the fault for the former player’s injuries to Riddell, making the company responsible for paying $3.1 million of the damages. Three Defendants reached confidential settlements before the verdict, but two coaches were still Defendants at the trial. The trial judge will be asked to find Riddell responsible for paying all $11.5 million of the damages.
Riddell plans to appeal the verdict, but said it was pleased that jurors rejected allegations regarding helmet design defects. Riddell contends that the court erroneously excluded testimony from its warnings expert. Frank D. Azar, a lawyer from Denver, represented the Plaintiff in this case and he did a very good job. Frank also represents several former NFL players with complaints against Riddell.
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