Ruland v. Boston Celtics
Plaintiff, a professional NBA basketball player with the Philadelphia 76’ers, alleged that he suffered a career-ending injury outside of the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, when two ball boys from the Boston Celtics allegedly struck him in the right rear ankle with a luggage cart. Plaintiff participated in three more professional basketball games and in the fourth game, suffered a total rupture of the Achilles tendon at the soleus/gastrocnemius junction. From the time of the incident that gave rise to the litigation to the time of the Achilles tendon rupture, plaintiff had been complaining of pain in the area and receiving medical treatment. The Boston Celtics alleged that plaintiff had failed to establish negligence in the handling of the cart and that the plaintiff was unable to establish proximate cause of the tendon rupture to the incident in Boston. Additionally, Boston Celtics alleged that plaintiff’s Achilles tendon had pre-existing tendinitis and that as a result of radical left knee surgery in the past, inordinate pressure was placed upon the right leg and ankle by plaintiff thereby degenerating his right Achilles tendon. Plaintiff’s demand throughout the trial was $25 million, which included compensatory loss for the contract that he had just signed with the Philadelphia 76’ers and pain and suffering. The jury deliberated for nine hours over two days and returned a verdict in favor of the Boston Celtics.
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