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Family of Junior Seau Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family of former San Diego Charger Junior Seau has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the National Football League (NFL). The lawsuit claims that Seau committed suicide due to brain disease caused by his play in the NFL.

After his death, Seau was diagnosed with a type of brain injury called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The disease is characterized by extensive evidence of protein tangles called tau clogging brain tissue, which are linked to the destruction of brain cells. The disease can cause a number of debilitating conditions including difficulties with attention, memory and judgment, explositivity, aggressive tendencies, paranoia and depression.

The Seau’s wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the brain injuries could have been prevented. Like other concussion lawsuits against the league, it accuses the NFL of deliberately ignoring and hiding evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries.

The lawsuit also claims that the NFL was motivated by money. “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 complaint alleges.

Helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc. is also named as a defendant. As detailed in the complaint, the plaintiffs allege Riddell was “negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets” used by NFL players.

The lawsuit was filed by Gina Seau, Junior’s ex-wife; Junior’s children Tyler, Sydney, Jake and Hunter, and Bette Hoffman, trustee of Seau’s estate. For additional information about who is entitled to bring a wrongful death action under California law, please stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.