David Givens sues Titans for $25 million

Former NFL receiver David Givens has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the Tennessee Titans, according to Jim Wyatt and Gary Estwick of the Tennessean.

Givens, who played on two Patriots Super Bowl championship teams, claims that the team withheld medical information and encouraged him to play despite having knowledge that his knee could not withstand NFL football.

Specifically, Givens says that he wasn’t told about the results of a March 2006 examination by Dr. Tomas Byrd, who concluded that Givens’ knee “may need surgery at some point” and that Givens “probably” would not be able to finish a full season due to a “large defect” where the femur connects to the knee.

But here’s where it gets strange.  Despite that assessment, the Titans signed Givens to a contract, and they paid him a $6 million signing bonus in 2006 and a $2 million roster bonus in 2007.  He was eventually released on February 27, 2008.

Still, Givens played in only five games of the 2006 season before injuring his knee.  He has not since played football because, according to the lawsuit, “it was ultimately determined that the previously-known lesion and defect in his knee had crumbled.”

“The issue is not about money,” agent Brad Blank told the Tennessean.  “It’s emotional and physical, and the idea that his
career was cut short. . . .  The issue is what could have been done better
and was there some kind of malpractice or negligence.

knee looks awful.  Emotionally, in terms of his upbeat nature. . . .  He is
also not the happy-go-lucky, affable guy I used to know.”

So the argument apparently will be that, if the Titans had told Givens about the injury, he would have had the surgery before trying to play again.

But, again, the issue didn’t stop the Titans from paying Givens $8 million in bonuses and two years of base salary.

There also are a couple of technical defenses that might apply to the case, regardless of whether the allegations are true.  First, the lawsuit might be superseded by the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s grievance procedure.  Second, the injury occurred in 2006, and the lawsuit has been filed in 2009.  Givens will have to prove that the alleged discovery of the medical record containing the information in February 2009 excuses any potential problems with the statute of limitations, which the Titans likely will argue began to run as of the date of the injury in 2006 — and potentially expired at some point in 2008.

The Titans also might contend that they told Givens about the medical findings, and that he consciously opted to take the $6 million and try to play with it.

So this one could get interesting.  And the message to every team not only is to be sure that key medical information has been shared with player, and that proper records are kept documenting the communications.

13 responses to “David Givens sues Titans for $25 million

  1. USA TODAY – 12/18/2006
    NFL notes: Ex-Saints QB sues Titans for mascot ending his season
    NASHVILLE — Ex-Saints quarterback Adrian McPherson is suing the Tennessee Titans because their mascot hit him with a golf cart before the second half of an August exhibition.
    McPherson filed his civil lawsuit Friday in Davidson County Circuit Court and also is seeking $5 million in compensatory damages for the Titans’ negligence and $15 million in punitive damages. A team spokesman said Monday afternoon the Titans were aware of the lawsuit but had no further comment.
    The quarterback was on the field Aug. 12 warming up when T-Rac, the Titans’ mascot played by director of mascot operations Pete Nelson, hit him with a golf cart while throwing items into the stand.
    McPherson missed the rest of the game with a deep bruise in his right knee, and the Saints cut him on Sept. 2.

    And was awarded $20 million. He now is the backup quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL.

  2. As you know (or certainly should), statute of limitations is tricky for medical issues. It’s also often extended when evidence of the litigated event is potentially withheld by the defendent. Both issues are likely in play here.

  3. Good for him if they withheld information.
    Contracts aren’t guaranteed, teams will screw players over anyway they can, and if he wouldn’t have played he would’ve been labled a pussy.

  4. Sad story. Givens was nothing but a class act on and off the field during his time in New England.

  5. ” ‘The issue is not about money,’ agent Brad Blank told the Tennessean.”
    Yes, we can all see that – I mean, who needs $25 million anyway??
    I have been wondering for a long time when the trial lawyers would start lining up to sue the crap out of the NFL for guys’ injuries. Let the stampede to the courthouses begin!
    I’ll bet Plax will be next in line – he will say the Giants team doctors had an X-ray showing a loaded pistol with the safety off perilously close to his thigh – but they failed to warn him about it and kept forcing him to accompany Pierce to attend hip night clubs at 2 am.

  6. Read articles guys on football players and how quickly they go broke after playing. Within 2 years, something like 75% of former NFL players are broke. I am willing to bet Givens is one of them. Hence the delayed lawsuit. All he is hoping for is to settle for 5 or 10 million and call it a day. The Titans probably did lie, like most NFL teams, but dont say it isnt about money.

  7. If the Titans did this then they lose some credibility in my eyes. I just didn’t think they were that type of team. However. Every athlete should take responsibility for their own health. No athlete should rely upon team doctors for the information they get. This isn’t only common sense it’s personal accountability. Players should get their own opinions even if their team doesn’t like it. If the CBA is written in such a way that they can’t then it needs to be changed and in the interim players should ignore this constraint. Really. You’re responsible for yourself. Anything else is bullshit.

  8. hard to empathize with givens when he’s asking for $25M.
    he couldn’t have earned that if he had been playing the rest of his days, so where that figure comes from is beyond me.
    this is all about money, don’t believe his hype.

  9. you would have to be a moron to believe that any team in the NFL would withhold information BEFORE signing a player . With the information like that it would drive the player’s value down greatly thus making a fantastic bargain bin player that would have signed to a 3 year contract for 5 – 9 mil with maybe 2 and ahalf guaranteed . Givens is WAY off base here

  10. Wow Tennessee tyrant. calling people moron’s when you are completely misinformed and obviously don’t know much about the collective bargaining agreement. not to mention just a general lack of logically thinking.
    you think anyone here thinks that the Titans knew about this before signing him??? i mean come on dude, you are looking like the complete moron here.
    check out the collective bargaining agreement to see why the Titans didn’t find this injury until after they agreed to a long term deal with Givens. The Patriots have no record of knowing about this or they would be in the lawsuit as well. The Titans went with the Patriots medical review on DGiv which includes all his records and post season physicals, MRI, xrays, etc etc. They did not find out about the knee condition until an extensive review by the Titans doctors AFTER he signed and reported to the team. that is when they sat on the info and where the MOTIVE for hiding a mostly little known condition of briusing on the medial condyle of the femur. why would they want to look like idiots in the public for signing their major offseason acquisition and then needing to sit him for the first 6-8 weeks of the season after preventive surgery.
    Luckily, a case like this is completely black and white where the team MUST inform a player of an injury like this in writing. There is no record of letters like this in Givens files from all teams, the nflpa or the nfl which is why I’m sure the Titans will settle this for BIG $ at the recommendation of the NFL before getting exposed for this treachery they so often do.

  11. “not to mention just a general lack of logically thinking . . . .” [I] mean come on dude, you are looking like the complete moron here.” by Archibald Nemesis . . .
    This is an interesting article. It will be fun to follow the case.
    Most of the responses to the article are interesting too. Sorry Archibald, what Tennessee_Tyrant said didn’t lack “logically thinking.” You sound like more of a moron than him. Parts of your post are borderline unintelligible. Do a little proofreading before you call someone else a moron. Be nice or shut up.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.