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The Legal Road Ahead for Jamal Lewis

June 22nd, 2012 at 2:09 PM
By Lee Oliff

It seems like only yesterday that Jamal Lewis was gashing the Cleveland Browns on his way to a record setting 295 yard rushing performance. Today, Lewis is looking to attack the Cleveland Browns organization off the field.  Last month, John Mengels released a story outlining an interview with Lewis and his recent post-concussion effects (Jamal Lewis Mental Uncertainties), specifically during his stint with the Cleveland Browns. In that interview, Lewis set forth the reasons for his joining over 2,200 other former NFL players in a class action concussion lawsuit against the NFL. 

The ramifications of head related injuries have been highly publicized in recent months as more and more former players have come forward with allegations of long-term brain trauma allegedly exacerbated throughout their NFL careers. The issue took a scary turn when Dave Duerson took his own life as a result of brain injuries sustained throughout his NFL career (story here). The issue became even more publicized upon, Junior Seau’s s recent suicide. 

Lewis alleges that team doctors and other medical professionals concealed the long-term effects of the injuries sustained during his career. If intentionally concealed or undisclosed, the NFL would certainly be legally culpable. However, if the long-term effects were unknown, it would be difficult to demonstrate a direct causal connection that would hold the NFL culpable. 

A main distinction between Lewis and other former players, such as Duerson, is that doctors today are far more knowledgeable of the long-term and serious effects of concussions than they may have been in the past. Lewis’ alleges that he asked for a concussion evaluation and his request was denied. Indeed, Lewis alleges that the team asked him to participate in the team’s next game after denying his request.  If true, Lewis may have a claim against the Cleveland Browns or the NFL individually, rather than as an addition to the already pending class action lawsuit. Either way, the emergence of brain related injury lawsuits is an evolving issue that will most likely be resolved over several different and distinct lawsuits.

Tags: Jamal Lewis, Law, Sports, Sports Law

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