Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Pop Warner

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A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Pop Warner youth football after two women sued the organization, alleging their sons died as a result of head injuries suffered a decade ago while playing football.

Kimberly Archie and Jo Cornell were suing for monetary damages over the deaths of their sons. Tyler Cornell and Paul Bright Jr., Archie’s son, died months apart. Cornell died by suicide, while Bright died in a motorcycle accident.

Both Tyler and Jo’s brains were examined and it was determined that both suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Both Tyler and Jo played youth football and in high school.

Judge Philip S. Gutierrez ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove that the men had died as a result of their playing football.

“The Court cannot conclude that Plaintiffs have presented evidence to create a triable issue as to actual causal causation which is not speculative,” Gutierrez wrote, according to Fox News, adding that he didn’t see any evidence that the two men suffered concussions or head injuries and that a jury would have to assume that playing Pop Warner football “resulted in sufficient head impacts to cause CTE.”

Pop Warner executive director Jon Butler told the San Diego Union-Tribune he expressed his condolences to the families involved but was pleased with the judge’s decision.

“While we have long held that it is not reasonable to suggest Pop Warner was responsible for the deaths of these two young men in their 20s, we empathize with the parents,” Butler said. “We cannot imagine the pain they felt losing their sons to suicide and a motorcycle accident. It is tragic. We are grateful that the judge, in this case, gave great consideration to the arguments and agreed with our position."

“The disappointment is the fact that the judge could not seem to understand or comprehend the simple, repetitive nature of collision sports resulting in permanent or chronic injuries,” said Bob Finnerty, the attorney representing Archie and Cornell. “It seems like it’s acceptable in every other sport that you can wear out a joint or overstretch ligaments, but for some reason a collision sport involving 12-year-olds is somehow different.”

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