A week ago, trial opened in Reggie Bush’s civil lawsuit against the Los Angeles Rams and multiple St. Louis public agencies. It came to a close on Tuesday, and Bush CASHED IN. A jury awarded Bush $12.5 million in damages, including $4.95 million in compensatory damages and $7.5 million in punitive damages.
Bush suffered a season-ending MCL injury in 2015 when the San Francisco 49ers traveled to face the then St. Louis Rams. He suffered the injury after running out of bounds on a play and then slipping on a concrete ring that ran around the sideline of the field. He signed with the Buffalo Bills following the season, but retired after one season with them.
Bush sued the Rams and the public agencies, claiming they were negligent and the injury impacted his free agency prospects. Last week, the judge dismissed the the public agencies from the lawsuit, ruling they could only be held liable if they had exclusive control of the dome. The judge decided the Rams had control of operations on game days, and thus were the ones held liable.
It is safe to say the Rams are going to appeal the verdict. While I could see holding them liable, that’s a hefty chunk of change for a player who was nearing the end of his career. Bush signed a one-year deal with the 49ers in 2015 worth as much as $2,406,250. Through the first eight games of the season, Bush appeared in five games, missing three due to various injuries. In the five games prior to suffering the MCL tear in St. Louis, Bush rushed eight times for 28 yards, and had four receptions for 19 yards.
The following offseason, Bush signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills worth up to $1.5 million. He retired after that season. The compensatory damages are meant to make Bush whole for his loss, while punitive damages are meant to punish the opposing party. It’s certainly possible Bush could have gotten another year or two out of the league, but $4.95 million seems a stretch for making him whole in this instance. He said later in the offseason after signing with the Bills that he was in good shape and fully recovered from the injury.
Honestly, the only reason I can picture this kind of award is some pissed off former Rams fans wanting to punish the franchise. That might be a stretch, but would it be the most shocking development given how the organization left the city?