Acuna v. Riddell, Inc.

Mar 20, 2014 – Stanley Mosk Superior Court, Los Angeles, CA

Less than an hour is all it took for a Los Angeles jury to unanimously find that a widely-used football helmet is not defective.

The quick verdict comes on the heels of a four week trial, brought by a 21-year old who claimed a Riddell helmet failed to protect him from severe brain damage during a 2009 high school football game, when he was 17.

The case of Edward Acuna v. Riddell, Inc. arose out of an accident that happened during a football game in Pomona, California.  Mr. Acuna was wearing the Riddell Revolution helmet – an advanced, state-of-the-art football helmet widely used by high school, NCAA, and NFL players nationwide.  Attempting to tackle the ball carrier during a play, Mr. Acuna suffered a rotational blow to his head, which led to a subdural hematoma and brain damage.

At trial, Plaintiff’s lawyers Ronald L.M. Goldman and A. Ilyas Akbari claimed that the front pad of the Riddell Revolution was defective in design and that Riddell should have constructed the pad with a different type of material. In their closing arguments, they asked the jury to award their client $37.5 million.

Defense counsel James Yukevich and Thomas Borncamp, of the law firm Yukevich | Cavanaugh, successfully argued that Riddell’s front pad was rigorously tested and that it met or exceeded all standards for impact energy.  Further strengthening the defense case, Plaintiff’s chief design expert conceded under cross-examination that no football helmet can protect against rotationally-induced head injuries (the same, rare type of injury suffered by Mr. Acuna). 

“All the evidence in the case shows that the helmet was safe and not defective," Said Mr. Yukevich. 

"Although the injury to Edward Acuna makes us sad, it had nothing to do with the design of the helmet.  Peyton Manning wore the same helmet in the last Super Bowl."

Riddell has 80 years of experience and is the industry leader in football helmet design.  Riddell has sold more than 1 million Riddell Revolution football helmets since the helmet was introduced in 2002.

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