Can Reggie Bush sue St. Louis?

CBS Sports is reporting that Reggie Bush, running back for the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL, is planning to sue the city of St. Louis over a knee injury blamed on slippery concrete in the Edward Jones Dome. Laugh if you must, but I think Reggie Bush has a winnable case (assuming he names the correct defendant… since the city of St. Louis doesn’t own the Dome… but that is for another time).

The injury to Bush occurred during a punt return in the game on November 1. Near the end of his punt return, Bush was pushed out of bounds by a St. Louis Rams player. Bush’s momentum carried him off the playing field, through the 49ers sideline and towards the crowd.While the surface of the playing field and sideline is field turf, a carpet like surfacing, the surface near the crowd is concrete. It was on the concrete between the sideline and the crowd where Bush slipped and suffered a season-ending knee injury.

To succeed in his claim against the city of St. Louis, Bush will have to prove the following:

First, there was concrete on the floor of the Edward Jones Dome and as a result the floor was not reasonably safe,

Second, the city of St. Louis knew or by using ordinary care could have known of this condition,

Third, the city of St. Louis failed to use ordinary care to remove it, barricade it or warn of it, and

Fourth, the city of St. Louis’ negligence directly caused or contributed to cause damage to Reggie Bush.

As to the first element of Bush’s claim, I think an argument can be made that the concrete was not reasonably safe. It is foreseeable that NFL players will be pushed out of bounds and that their momentum can carry them onto the concrete. Most NFL players wear cleats with metal spikes during games. One can run safely on turf with metal-spiked cleats, however, one cannot be expected to run safely on concrete with metal-spiked cleats without more caution and carefulness.

Metal-spiked cleats on concrete = you or I on black ice.

If you have been to the Dome, you know that there is simply not enough room between the playing field and the concrete to always safely slowdown when running.

As to the second element of Bush’s claim, consider that just the week before, in a game between the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns, Browns’ quarterback Josh McCown was pushed out of bounds towards the crowd and also slipped on the concrete causing him to crash into the crowd wall and injure his shoulder.

As to the third element of Bush’s claim, no one disputes that the concrete surface exists. Additionally, all who attend St. Louis Rams games can confirm that there is never any rope, chain or other device barricading the concrete surface from the turf surface of the Dome. Finally, there has been no evidence that the city of St. Louis provided any warning of the concrete surface or the danger it posed.

As to the last element of Bush’s claim, the alleged damages sustained by Reggie Bush include: injury to his MCL, bills associated with medical care to his injured MCL, lost future earnings and pain and suffering. The true extent of Bush’s damages is incomprehensible at the current time.

Thus, while it may seem preposterous and even unseemly for Reggie Bush to sue the city of St. Louis for his injury on November 1, one must recognize that he probably has a legally protected claim. That said, if Bush has any hope of recovery, he better reconsider his suit against the city of St. Louis and name the true owner/operator of the dome – St. Louis Regional Sports Authority.

If you or anyone you know have been injured in a slip and fall incident, please give my office a call at (314) 328-0123 to discuss your legal rights.