Ohio appeals court OKs staph suit against Browns
An Ohio appeals court has ruled in favor of former Cleveland
Browns center LeCharles Bentley, saying the team can’t force NFL
arbitration to halt a lawsuit on the career-ending staph infection
he says he contracted at the team’s training facility.
The Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals in Cleveland on Thursday
upheld a Cuyahoga County judge’s ruling, saying the issue is not
related to the collective bargaining agreement and can be handled
in county court.
Bentley’s attorney has said he nearly died from the infection he
contracted while rehabbing from a knee injury at the team’s
suburban Berea facility. The team is accused of persuading Bentley
to rehab at the training site and failing to tell him about
unsanitary conditions and other players who had contracted
The team had argued that state and federal laws support
arbitration over litigation.
Bentley never played a game for the Browns after signing a
six-year, $36 million contract as a free agent. He tore his left
patellar tendon in training camp in 2006, and his career never
recovered after the infection.
In 2007, Bentley told The Associated Press that he had undergone
four operations since getting hurt, the final two to clean out the
staph infection, which ate away at his tendon.
The Browns had at least six players stricken with some sort of
staph infection in recent years, including former receiver Joe
Jurevicius, who settled a similar lawsuit with the team last
When the Jurevicius lawsuit was settled, a team attorney said
the Browns’ sanitation and hygiene practices were at the highest
state-of-the-art level in the league.
Browns players Brian Russell, Ben Taylor, Kellen Winslow and
Braylon Edwards also battled staph.