Ex-Ram Star's Family Transfers Wrongful Death Suit vs. NCAA to Indiana

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A lawsuit filed against the NCAA by the ex-wife and children of a former member of the Rams, alleging that the All-Pro linebacker from the 1970s suffered multiple brain injuries during his college football career, has been transferred from Los Angeles County to Indiana, where the NCAA's national office is located.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas D. Long agreed to dismiss the negligence/wrongful death suit brought in December 2020 by Peggy Robertson, the former wife of the late Isiah Robertson, and Robertson's two children, Isiah Joshua Robertson and Jade Ashley Robertson, ``without prejudice,'' meaning it could be reactivated in California if circumstances warrant.

The plaintiffs' attorneys had initially maintained that filing the case in Los Angeles County was proper because the NCAA does business in the county. But NCAA attorneys had said they planned to file a motion to transfer the case to Indiana based on two legal grounds, including a lack of personal jurisdiction in California. The NCAA's headquarters are in Indianapolis.

Robertson's family then relented and agreed to move the case.  

The lawsuit alleged Robertson was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy after he died in a car accident in December 2018 at age 69.

According to the suit, he had Stage 3 of the disease, a step under the most serious status of Stage 4.

Robertson suffered multiple brain injuries while playing at Southern University in Louisiana from 1967-70 with inadequate concussion policies implemented to treat brain injuries that he and other players sustained during practice and in games, the suit states.

Later in life, Robertson began to have trouble sleeping and had headaches, outbursts, an inability to control his emotions, trouble recalling information, was often angry and showed reckless behavior, the suit states.

The lawsuit alleged the NCAA does not tell football players about brain injuries and does not implement sufficient rules to protect those who suffered concussions, causing Robertson to suffer serious injuries.

``Rather than protecting an NCAA athlete's brain, the NCAA has focused on protecting its member institution's financial interests,'' the suit stated.

During 111 games with the Rams from 1971 to 1978, Robertson intercepted 25 passes, made the Pro Bowl six times and helped the team win six division titles. He also spent four seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

Robertson died after a three-car accident on a highway near Mabank, Texas, that the lawsuit attributed to his reckless behavior. Police said Robertson drove a limousine around a curve too fast in rain, then the vehicle skidded and was hit by another automobile before ending up in oncoming traffic, where it was hit by a third automobile.

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