Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Joe Jurevicius has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the Cleveland Browns and the Cleveland Clinic. He claimed that he contracted staph following arthroscopic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in January 2008. His Complaint accuses his doctors, including the team doctors, of medical malpractice of negligence over a staph infection to his right knee.
I’ve been down this road with an NFL player in a case I handled against the New England Patriots. He is the motion I filed in that case to defeat the team’s claim that there is no jurisdiction. But that Browns’ lawyer will make the argument that unless Jurevicius’ lawyer put the Browns on notice very early in the game (90 days, I believe); he has waived his right to bring a claim against the team based on the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. It seems silly to break off the malpractice case into two separate cases: one against the team and one against the doctors. But at least one court that I have seen, Sherwin v. Indianapolis Colts, 752 F. Supp. 1172 (N.Y.D.C 1990), seems to think this is the required approach under the NFL CBA. (My case gave the court an easy out: the Patriots waited 2 years to file their motion which the court relied upon to find that the Patriots and their team doctor waived their right to assert that arbitration was still a remedy.)
You cannot understate the harm caused by staph infections: CDC estimates infections – many of which are staph infections – kill 90,000 people annually. Infections result in an estimated 205,000 additional hospital days for infected patients and a whopping $2 billion in medical costs.
Still, while staph infection lawsuits are on the rise, they are tough claims. Jurevicius’ lawsuit contends the training room could have been cleaner. Okay. But that is a far leap from a causation link to his staph infection.