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Injury occurred while football player was a Ram, not Redskin: Court

Posted On: Nov. 15, 2019 1:59 PM CST

Rams football

A former professional football player failed to secure a new trial in a workers compensation case that came down to whether he sustained his injury playing for the St. Louis Rams or the Washington Redskins.

In Carriker v. Pro-Football Inc., a judge in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in Annapolis on Thursday denied the football player’s motion for a new trial, holding that he was not denied a fair trial due to a need to reinstruct the jury during deliberations regarding which team he played on.

Adam Carriker was a defensive end for the St. Louis Rams in 2007. On April 10, 2008, he injured his left ankle in practice and underwent surgery on Jan. 18, 2010. He filed a workers compensation claim against the Rams, which was settled in mid-2010.

In April 2010, he was traded to the Washington Redskins and continued to receive daily ankle rehabilitation from the team trainers and injections. By August 2010, the trainers considered his ankle condition resolved, and he played for the Redskins during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons. On Sept. 16, 2012, Mr. Carriker tore the tendon in his right quadricep. While rehabilitating his knee in 2013, he said his left ankle began to hurt, and on Nov. 11, 2013, he was diagnosed with ankle impingement syndrome. He was released from the Redskins in April 2014, and had ankle surgery on Dec. 5, 2014. A few days after his surgery, he filed a workers comp claim against the Redskins seeking workers comp for his latest ankle surgery.

The Maryland Workers Compensation Commission denied his claim against the Redskins, finding that he did not sustain an occupational disease arising out of his employment with that team since he was diagnosed with a left ankle impingement in January 2009, just before his first ankle operation, which was covered by the Rams.

Mr. Carriker appealed to the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, but a jury found in favor of the Redskins and dismissed his comp claim, finding that his ankle-related occupational disease stemmed from his time playing for the Rams, not the Redskins. He then filed a motion for a new trial.

The appellate court dismissed his motion, affirming the jury’s decision. Mr. Carriker argued that “irregularities” in the jury’s verdict denied him a fair trial. The verdict sheet asked whether Mr. Carriker sustained an occupational disease in the course of his time with the Redskins, to which the jury answered “yes” and then asked for the date he sustained the disability, which the jury initially wrote as occurring in 2010, when Mr. Carriker was actually employed by the Rams. As a result, the court reinstructed the jury of the inconsistency of their first verdict, and the jury returned a verdict that Mr. Carriker did not sustain an occupational disease during his employment with the Redskins.

Although Mr. Carriker argued that the court didn’t “abide by procedures” and that its actions changed “a verdict that was favorable to Mr. Carriker to an unfavorable verdict,” the appellate court disagreed, finding that the court’s reinstruction had “no material effect” on the jury’s handling of the inconsistency and was unlikely to have affected the outcome of the case.