Junior Seau’s Family Sues The NFL
(AP) The family of Junior Seau has sued the NFL, claiming the former linebacker’s suicide was the result of brain disease caused by violent hits he sustained while playing football.
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed Wednesday in California Superior Court in San Diego, blames the NFL for its “acts or omissions” that hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head. It says Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from those hits, and accuses the NFL of deliberately ignoring and concealing evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries.
Seau died at age 43 of a self-inflicted gunshot in May. He was diagnosed with CTE, based on posthumous tests, earlier this month.
“Our attorneys will review it and respond to the claims appropriately through the court,” the NFL said in a statement Wednesday.
Helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc., also is being sued by the Seaus, who say Riddell was “negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets” used by NFL players. The suit says the helmets were unreasonably dangerous and unsafe.
Seau was one of the best linebackers during his 20 seasons in the NFL. He retired in 2009.
Plaintiffs are listed as Gina Seau, Junior’s ex-wife; Junior’s children Tyler, Sydney, Jake and Hunter, and Bette Hoffman, trustee of Seau’s estate.
The lawsuit accuses the league of glorifying the violence in pro football, and creating the impression that delivering big hits “is a badge of courage which does not seriously threaten one’s health.”
It singles out NFL Films and some of its videos for promoting the brutality of the game.
“In 1993′s `NFL Rocks,’ Junior Seau offered his opinion on the measure of a punishing hit: `If I can feel some dizziness, I know that guy is feeling double (that),” the suit says.
The NFL consistently has denied allegations similar to those in the lawsuit.
“The NFL, both directly and in partnership with the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and other leading organizations, is committed to supporting a wide range of independent medical and scientific research that will both address CTE and promote the long-term health and safety of athletes at all levels,” the league told the AP after it was revealed Seau had CTE.
The lawsuit claims money was behind the NFL’s actions.
“The NFL knew or suspected that any rule changes that sought to recognize that link (to brain disease) and the health risk to NFL players would impose an economic cost that would significantly and adversely change the profit margins enjoyed by the NFL and its teams,” the Seaus said in the suit.
The National Institutes of Health, based in Bethesda, Md., studied three unidentified brains, one of which was Seau’s, and said the findings on Seau were similar to autopsies of people “with exposure to repetitive head injuries.”
“It was important to us to get to the bottom of this, the truth,” Gina Seau told the AP then. “And now that it has been conclusively determined from every expert that he had obviously had CTE, we just hope it is taken more seriously. You can’t deny it exists, and it is hard to deny there is a link between head trauma and CTE. There’s such strong evidence correlating head trauma and collisions and CTE.”
In the final years of his life, Seau went through wild behavior swings, according to Gina and to 23-year-old son, Tyler. There also were signs of irrationality, forgetfulness, insomnia and depression.
“He emotionally detached himself and would kind of `go away’ for a little bit,” Tyler Seau said. “And then the depression and things like that. It started to progressively get worse.”
Lance Armstrong Target Of Yet Another Lawsuit
And the Lance Armstrong bashing truck keeps on rolling: Back in the day Britain’s Sunday Times once was ordered to pay Lance Armstrong $485,000 to settle a libel lawsuit over doping allegations… now the paper would like its money back: In more bad news for the disgraced cycling champ, the Times has filed legal paperwork “demanding a return of the settlement payment plus interest, as well as its costs in defending the case.”
The grand total is likely to be north of the $1.6 million mark. The original suit was settled in 2004, notes the AP.
Rob Schneider Sued By ‘The Chosen One’ Investors
Rob Schneider and his brother have been sued by investors of the film “The Chosen One,” a 2010 direct-to-DVD dramatic feature starring and directed by the former “Saturday Night Live” comedian.
Courthouse News reports that the plaintiffs, George and Nancy Gamble, insist that they put $1.5 million into post-production costs for the movie, and that investment was never returned. They accuse the Schneiders of using the money for “unrelated, improper and/or personal purposes.”
Strangely, this is not the first lawsuit resulting from the financial troubles of “The Chosen One.” In 2008, the Schneiders were sued for $350,000 by producer Bob Rubin after he claimed they failed to pay him his agreed fee for securing financing for the movie.
Judge Throws Out Sam Lufti’s Lawsuit Against Britney Spears
Finally, Britney Spears is catching a break: A Los Angeles judge threw out Sam Lutfi’s entire lawsuit on Thursday after attorneys for the Spears family argued that he hadn’t proven his case after six days of testimony.
Lutfi, 38, a onetime confidante of the singer, sued Britney for unpaid fees, her dad Jamie Spears for allegedly punching him, and mom Lynne Spears for purportedly defaming him in her 2008 book.
“I really thought long and hard about this,” Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bruguera said before dismissing the case. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Jamie’s attorney Leon Gladstone said following the hearing, “We’re delighted, we feel it’s the right result.”
Lutfi, of course, said he plans to appeal.
Hulk Hogan Suing Over Sex Tape
Hulk Hogan agrees with all of us: His sex tape should have never seen the light of day and is very serious about getting it yanked off the web.
The wrestler’s lawyers are threatening to sue Gawker, which posted a short clip yesterday, and demanding that it come down immediately.
“This tape was made secretly without Hulk’s knowledge or permission,” says one of his attorneys. “We are going to do everything in our power to figure out who did it.” Gawker says the 30-minute DVD came from an anonymous source.
Actress Sues ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Producer
An actress in the now infamous anti-Islam movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ is suing the producer. Cindy Lee Garcia says producer Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, aka Sam Bacile, told her the Innocence of Muslims was going to be a harmless desert adventure flick. The lines insulting to Islam and Muhammed were dubbed in afterward, she says.
The suit also names Google and YouTube, and demands that the offending video get pulled. Garcia says she has gone into hiding because of death threats and is seeking unspecified damages.
Kate Middleton Sues French Mag Over Naked Pics
Prince Harry must be ecstatic that his naked Vegas indiscretion is now in the past… but not so his sister-in-law Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who is embroiled in her own nude photo scandal.
French magazine Closer published blurry topless pictures of Kate, apparently taken with a long lens while she and Prince William were on a private holiday at a French chateau owned by the queen’s nephew. The royal couple filed a lawsuit today, TMZ reports, but no further details are available yet.
Kate and Wills “have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner,” a royal spokesperson said earlier. “The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to the Duke and Duchess for being so.”
Husband Sued After Wife Catches Him Spying On Her
A Cincinnati man has been sued after his wife caught him recording her every move with a hidden camera for months.
Catherine found out about the recordings during her 2009 divorce proceedings against his now ex-husband Joseph Zang, and they sparked a huge complicated legal battle including almost a dozen friends and relatives caught on camera.
“I haven’t seen anything like this before,” says one of the plaintiffs. “It’s scary.” But privacy experts say that thanks to an explosion of cheap, high-quality surveillance equipment, this kind of spying is likely going on all over the country. “There’s absolutely been an increase in this,” says one lawyer. And because most surveillance laws were written in a pre-digital age, they’re often ill-equipped to handle the situation. It’s unclear, for instance, what laws Zang may have broken, given that the equipment was in his own home. No charges were filed, but Zang faces two federal lawsuits seeking damages.