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Jurevicius sues Browns over staph

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Former Cleveland Browns receiver Joe Jurevicius sued the team and the Cleveland Clinic on Friday, saying the team misrepresented the cleanliness of its training facility and blaming doctors with negligence over a staph infection in his right knee that kept him from playing last year.


The lawsuit alleges that physicians Anthony Miniaci and Richard Figler failed to warn Jurevicius that therapy equipment was not always sanitized at the team's training facility in suburban Berea.

The filing was first reported by the The Plain Dealer on its Web site.

An NFL physicians survey of the 32 clubs determined there were 33 MRSA staph infections leaguewide from 2006-08. The Browns had at least six players stricken with some sort of staph infection in recent years.

Jurevicius has said he contracted staph following arthroscopic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in January 2008. As a result, the lawsuit said, "Jurevicius may never be able to play professional football again."

Jurevicius, a die-hard Cleveland fan who attended Browns games as a kid, was released by the club in March.

Fred Nance, an attorney for the Browns, said Friday the lawsuit is being reviewed but that the Browns deny its allegations. He said the team's facilities are compliant with all NFL requirements.

"In fact, an independent professional review earlier this year concluded that the Browns have taken appropriate steps to prevent MRSA infections at their facilities," Nance said.

Erinne Dyer, speaking on behalf of the Clinic and the doctors, said there would be no comment on pending litigation. Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis said the team was preparing a response.

In 11 seasons with the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland, Jurevicius had 323 receptions for 4,119 yards and 29 TDs. Jurevicius set career highs with 55 receptions and 10 TDs for the Seahawks in 2005.

The legal filing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court included an affidavit by Dr. Bonnie Bock, an infectious diseases specialist from Newport Beach, Calif., who said her examination of the case showed that the player's staph infection was due to circumstances outlined in the suit.

"Sterile techniques were not at all times used at the Browns training facility," she said. "Therapy devices commonly used by multiple Browns players were not properly maintained, disinfected or cleaned, if at all at the Browns training facility."

The lawsuit asked for damages totaling more than $25,000, plus unspecified punitive damages, attorney and expert fees and related costs.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press


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