Rhett Ridolfi, a 22-year-old man who suffered brain damage and partial paralysis while playing high school football in 2008, has been awarded millions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit against the helmet maker Riddell.
And Ridolfi’s attorney, Frank Azar, who is also suing Riddell on behalf of several former NFL players, says this is just the beginning.
“I think this jury has said they’re in very serious trouble,” Azar told the Associated Press.
In the case of Ridolfi, a jury in Colorado said he is entitled to $11.5 million in damages for his injuries, and that Riddell is 27 percent responsible, so Riddell will have to pay $3.1 million of the damages. The rest of the damages are largely symbolic, as those damages were awarded against Ridolfi’s coaches, who have immunity as government employees and will not have to pay the damages.
The jury in Ridolfi’s lawsuit did not find that Riddell’s helmets are defective but did find that Riddell didn’t properly warn the players who wear its helmets of the risks associated with brain injuries in football.
“While disappointed in the jury’s decision not to fully exonerate Riddell, we are pleased the jury determined that Riddell’s helmet was not defective in any way,” the company said in a statement.