Los Angeles, California, August 24, 2010 – – The Los Angeles based law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman filed a personal injury lawsuit today on behalf of 18-year-old Edward Acuna against Riddell, the manufacturer of a defective football helmet he was wearing during a 2009 high school football game in which he suffered a severe, permanent brain injury.
Edward was a 17-year-old senior at Garey High School in Pomona, California, when he was playing at his school’s homecoming football game against Montclair High School on October 16, 2009. Edward, a senior defensive tackle, listed as 5’10”, 210 pounds, took a hit to the front of his helmet during the fourth quarter. Afterwards, he fell down, then stumbled to the sideline, lost consciousness, and collapsed. He was transported to an airfield and airlifted to LAC-USC Medical Center where he received an emergency craniotomy to counter the brain hemorrhaging and swelling. He was diagnosed with a left subdural hematoma that led to severe and lasting physical, mental, and nervous system pain and suffering and resulting permanent disability. Edward is partially paralyzed and will require life-long treatment and care.
At the time he was hit, Edward was wearing a Riddell Sports Inc. helmet, “the official helmet of the NFL.” According to the lawsuit, the helmet’s dangerous and known defective design caused Edward’s injuries.
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that a pad located on the front of the helmet was defective and that Riddell knew of the potential dangers associated with this particular defect since at least the year 2000, yet failed to perform sufficient safety tests and inspections to remedy it. It is alleged that this willful and conscious disregard of the safety of their consumers, and ultimately Edward Acuna, lead to the catastrophic and life-changing injuries suffered by Edward.
“Our information is that Riddell Sports has known about this particular defect in their helmets for at least a decade. There is litigation going back 10 years over the front pad of the helmet not performing as intended and leading to head injuries. Riddell has had many chances to use an available, low cost alternative design that, we believe, would have prevented head injuries like Edward’s. They just simply have not done so. The time has come to hold Riddell accountable and to demand a safer design,” said the family’s attorney, Ilyas Akbari, also a bioengineer. “It is a parent’s worst nightmare to see their child suffer a catastrophic injury while playing the sport they love, especially when that injury could have been avoided by a known and simple fix. Edward and the Acuna family want Riddell to take responsibility for their actions and want to ensure that this senseless tragedy does not repeat itself.”
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages against Riddell and its subsidiaries for product liability, and for punitive damages for alleged careless and reckless design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of a defective helmet and for failing to adequately warn of the potential risks and dangers associated with the helmet.
The case is Edward Acuna vs. Riddell Sports, Inc., et al., Superior Court, Los Angeles County (Van Nuys) Case No. LC090924.
Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman is a Los Angeles-based law firm which has represented plaintiffs in more than 4,000 catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases stemming from traumatic brain injuries, aviation, bus, train, truck and structure accidents, and pharmaceutical product liability, across the nation.