ST. LOUIS (AP) — A jury in St. Louis on Tuesday ordered the NFL’s Rams to pay former running back Reggie Bush $12.5 million for a severe knee injury he suffered in 2015, the team’s final season in St. Louis before moving to Los Angeles.
The jury found the Rams 100 percent liable for Bush’s injury and ordered the team to pay $4.95 million in compensatory damages and $7.5 million in punitive damages, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Attorneys for the Rams said they plan to file a motion for a new trial.
Bush was playing for the San Francisco 49ers when he was pushed out of bounds during a game on Nov. 1, 2015, at what was then the Edward Jones Dome, now known as the Dome at America’s Center. He slipped on a surface that the lawsuit dubbed the “concrete ring of death,” about 35 feet (11 meters) behind the 49ers’ bench.
Bush suffered a season-ending left knee injury. The lawsuit contended the injury undermined his earnings as a player for the rest of his career. He signed with Buffalo in 2016 and retired in 2017. Now 33, he works as an analyst for the NFL Network.
“Reggie lost his ability to do what he loved, and to bargain for a contract that he worked his entire life for,” Bush’s lawyer Tim Cronin said during closing statements. “These players get chewed up. They only have so many chances.”
Bush also sued public agencies that own and operate the dome, but a judge dismissed them from the suit last week after ruling that the team had control of game-day operations.
Just a week before Bush’s injury, Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown slid across the same concrete stretch and injured his shoulder.
The concrete surface in the dome was covered with rubber padding two weeks after Bush was injured.
Rams attorney Dan Allmayer said the team should not be held responsible for Bush’s injury because it could not have foreseen a dangerous condition. He noted that no one besides McCown and Bush had been injured there over 20 seasons played at the dome.
Allmayer said Bush’s injury was caused by “pre-existing issues,” not the fall on the concrete.
NFL owners approved the request from Rams owner Stan Kroenke to move the team to Los Angeles in 2016.