Federal Judge Denies Riddell’s Motion to Dismiss Class Action Complaint In Case Over False Advertising Concerning the Concussion Reducing Benefits of the Revolution Helmet

On June 19, 2015, the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia denied a motion by Riddell, Inc. to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Midwestern Midget Football Club, Inc. alleging that Riddell knowingly misrepresented the concussion reducing benefits of its Revolution Helmet.  In sweeping aside each of Riddell’s arguments, the Court noted plaintiff’s complaint “alleged a plausible basis for concluding Riddell produced false advertising of the benefits of the Revolution Helmet in order to entice customers into purchasing the devices.”  Midwestern Midget Football Club Inc. v. Riddell, Inc., No. 2:15-00244,.Order at 9-10 (June 19, 2015).

The Amended Class Action Complaint sustained by the Honorable John T. Copenhaver challenges marketing communications by Riddell including the following statements that continue to be made by Riddell:

  • “Shown to reduce incidence of concussion by 31% versus traditional helmets* [Neurosurgery, February 2006, Vol. 58, No. 2], the helmet’s Revolution Concussion Reduction Technology uses three principal design elements – an offset shell, mandible extensions and energy managing S-Pads – to provide superior protection for players on the field.”
  • “In relative terms, athletes who wore the Riddell Revolution were 31 percent less likely to suffer a concussion compared to athletes who wore traditional or standard football helmets. For athletes who had never suffered a previous concussion, wearing the Riddell Revolution decreased their relative risk of concussion by 41 percent.  Both of these findings were statistically significant.”
  • “The study, which will be published in February’s edition of Neurosurgery, found that athletes who wore the Riddell Revolution helmet were 31 percent less likely to suffer a concussion compared to athletes who wore traditional football helmets.  The author of the study estimate that the Revolution’s patented technology could translate to 18,000 to 46,000 fewer concussions among the 1.5 million high school players who participate in football each season.  While these results are very encouraging, Riddell stresses that no helmet will prevent all concussions.”

Amended Class Action Complaint ¶ 18 (Apr. 10, 2015).

As a result of the Court’s ruling, the parties will now engage in discovery and move towards a trial in 2016.

Midwestern Midget Football Club is represented by Bailey & Glasser attorneys Michael Murphy, Marc Weintraub, Gabriel Siegle and Ryan Donovan.

 

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