PHILADELPHIA – Greek-American ex-Eagles captain Chris Maragos won $43.5 million in his lawsuit against his doctors who “exhibited ‘medical negligence’ in treating the 2017 career-ending knee injury, a Philadelphia jury found” on February 13, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The ex-NFL All-Pro player is a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the Seattle Seahawks that won Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 and with the Eagles in Super Bowl LII in 2018.
“Shortly after his 2019 retirement from the NFL, Maragos sued his acclaimed Pittsburgh-based surgeon, James Bradley, and Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, whose physicians serve as the Eagles’ orthopedic doctors and who oversaw Maragos’ knee surgery rehabilitation,” the Inquirer reported, adding that “the lawsuit alleged the special teams ace’s NFL run was cut short by ‘medical negligence’ from his doctors who operated on and rehabilitated Maragos’ torn posterior cruciate ligament following an injury during the Eagles 2017-18 Super Bowl season.”
“While addressing his PCL, the doctors, Maragos’ attorneys say, ignored damage to the player’s meniscus — leading to a premature end to his professional career, and causing ongoing knee issues,” the Inquirer reported, noting that “attorneys for Bradley and Rothman denied the allegations, saying that they were cognizant of Maragos’ meniscus tear, but that the tissue was ‘stable’ and that surgery would have caused more harm than good.”
“After less than three hours of deliberations, the 12-member panel found Bradley and Rothman negligent, ordering Bradley to pay roughly $29.2 million to the former NFL player, and Rothman to pay around $14.3 million,” the Inquirer reported, adding that “as the foreperson read the verdict, Maragos and his wife, Serah, embraced, quietly crying,” and “after the jury concluded, the couple stood, hugging each other and their attorneys.”
“Outside the courtroom, Chris and Serah Maragos hugged the jurors in the City Hall hallway, thanking them,” the Inquirer reported, noting that one of the jurors told them “Thank you for fighting the man.”
“We’re really grateful and thankful for the outcome,” Maragos told the Inquirer. “We had the truth on our side and the jury saw it.”
In a statement, Maragos’ attorney, Dion G. Rassias, said that “this case and this jury may have changed the course of history by now forcing these team doctors and trainers to stop worrying about when a player might return to play and start thinking about the next 50 years of a player’s life,” the Inquirer reported.
“The verdict comes following a star-studded, two-week trial before Common Pleas Judge Charles J. Cunningham III, featuring testimony from former Eagles stars Nick Foles, Trey Burton, and Jordan Hicks, and amid the Eagles’ run-up to Super Bowl LVII,” the Inquirer reported, adding that “in acute detail, jurors were shown reams of doctor’s notes, MRIs, medical charts, a video of a surgery, and a photo taken from inside Maragos’ knee as the lawyers sparred over the treatment of his meniscus during surgery and rehabilitation.”
“From the witness stand, Maragos, 36, told the jury about life following his 2019 retirement, the two knee surgeries he had following the one performed by Bradley, how he is looking into a knee replacement, and the pain he faces in daily activities,” the Inquirer reported, noting Maragos saying “I’m the only dad who is not out there playing flag football.”
Serah Maragos, too, testified that “her husband’s decline was ‘devastating,’” the Inquirer reported. “I watched someone that was confident and strong and secure completely deteriorate… You watch someone… from being a professional athlete to being unable to get up without a limp.”
“Bradley — who has operated on the knees of high-profile NFL players and served more than 30 years as a team doctor for the Pittsburgh Steelers — told the jury that he was using his judgment when Maragos came to him in 2017, and that if the player needed a second surgery, ‘I would have done it,’” the Inquirer reported. “I’m a surgeon, that’s what I do… If I had to operate on that, I’d operate on that in a heartbeat.”
“Two of Maragos’ Eagles doctors defended their actions during the player’s rehabilitation, and a Houston Texans team physician testified he believed the safety was treated appropriately,” the Inquirer reported, adding that “attorneys for Rothman and Bradley also argued that Maragos was healing well from his PCL reconstruction, and that damage to his meniscus was caused in a separate instance in the weight room months after the surgery. Furthermore, they contended Maragos had a lengthy eight-year run in the NFL — more than double the average NFL career of 3.3 years — and that, at 31, with Maragos’ arthritis and bowed legs as well as the injury, the doctors could not do more to extend his professional career.”
John C. Conti, who represented Bradley in the trial, said “that the timing of the trial, between the Eagles’ NFC championship and Super Bowl loss, as well as the star-studded witness list, had ‘enormous impact’” on the outcome, the Inquirer reported.
“That’s an awful strong tide to swim against,” Conti told the Inquirer.
“For Maragos, the verdict is the first step in putting the injury behind him,” the Inquirer reported.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done between the relationship between my wife and I, and our kids, and me physically,” Maragos told the Inquirer. “This is just a start of a long road ahead unfortunately, but definitely a stepping stone.”