San Francisco 49ers running back Reggie Bush has sued the owner of the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis after he sustained a torn MCL after slipping on the concrete ring surrounding the Rams’ field (named the “concrete ring of death”). Bush was injured in the first half of the game and underwent season ending surgery on the knee.
Here is a video of the injury:
Bush’s five page run-of-the-mill negligence complaint against the Dome owner alleges that as an “invitee” to the Dome, the owners had a duty to maintain the field in a reasonably safe condition, the concrete surface surrounding the field was not safe, and that is what caused Bush’s injury to his left knee.
In response, the Dome owners may argue that Bush assumed the risk of playing a dangerous sport where knee injuries are common. Given that this was an injury that occurred off of the field, and that the Dome owners should have known of the dangerous concrete ring because Josh McCown was injured in a similar fashion just one week prior, it is difficult to imagine that this will be a successful Defendants.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Dome owners should have known of the dangerous concrete ring because Josh McCown was injured in a similar fashion just one week prior. [/pullquote]
One of the most interesting aspects of this case is the calculation of possible damages for a professional athlete. While Bush alleges damages “in excess of $25,000”, if he can prove that the Dome owners were negligent, damages will likely be significantly higher than that number. In order to calculate Bush’s lost salary, a jury would use this formula:
- Decide the reasonable amount Bush would have earned but for the injury by comparing his value to similarly situated players.
- Multiply that amount by any adjustment due to the increased salary cap and inflation.
- Subtract from that total the reasonable amount Bush would earn with the injury as a diminished player.
If the lawsuit reaches the damages calculation stage (which would occur in the late stages of litigation), a myriad of interesting issues will arise including what is the value of an age 30 running back and how much does a knee injury factor into that calculation.
This is not the first lawsuit we have seen regarding dangerous field conditions. In 2012, former Houston Texans punter Brett Hartmann sued the owners of Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX for a knee injury that occurred allegedly due to seam in the turf. The lawsuit quietly settled in the spring of 2015 and resulted in the Texans changing their playing surface. Similar to the Hartmann case, it would not be a surprise to see the Bush case settle out of court prior to reaching trial.
Here is the full lawsuit: