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Krueger v. San Francisco Forty Niners
California Court of Appeal for the First District
234 Cal. Rptr. 579 (1987)
Charlie Krueger (plaintiff) was a defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers (defendant). While Krueger was being operated on for a knee injury by a team physician, the physician noted that Krueger appeared to be missing his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. This type of injury can produce instability in the knee, particularly when combined with other injuries. Krueger testified that he was never informed that he was missing this ligament. During the following year, Krueger received numerous steroid injections from team doctors to treat his knee pain. Krueger testified that he never was advised by the team’s medical staff that such injections could lead to rupturing of tendons, weakening of joints and cartilage, and destruction of capillaries and blood vessels. A medical expert testified that such dangers were known at the time, and the number of injections Krueger received was highly unusual. X-rays showed that Krueger’s knee suffered from several degenerative post-traumatic issues; Krueger testified that he was not told of these issues. Krueger also testified that after a play in which he was hit, he felt a piece of his knee break off. For the remainder of the season, Krueger felt a large substance dislodged in his knee. Krueger continued playing; team doctors never advised Kruger that he risked permanent injury by continuing to play. Kruger testified that had he been advised not to play, he would not have played. Only after Krueger retired from football was he advised that he suffered from chronic and permanent disability in his knee. Krueger was unable to stand for prolonged periods, could not run, and was unable to walk on stairs without severe pain. Krueger’s condition was degenerative and irreversible. Krueger brought suit against the 49ers for fraud and deceit. The 49ers moved to dismiss.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Newsom, J.)
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