Former Miami Dolphins' O.J. McDuffie gets $11.5 million
BY DAVID J. NEALdneal@MiamiHerald.com
A Miami-Dade County jury ruled that an improperly handled injury was worth $11.5 million for former Dolphins wide receiver O.J. McDuffie.
The ruling was the result of McDuffie's professional malpractice suit against former Dolphins team physician John Uribe, one of several suits stemming from the handling of McDuffie's injured big toe in 1999 that led to the end of his career. He sustained the injury in the 10th game of the season. He played in only two of the remaining six regular-season games, then played in both playoff games.
The suit alleged McDuffie was told by Uribe he could continue to play even though MRIs of the toe showed tendon damage. McDuffie was in uniform for nine games in 2000, none in 2001 and was cut before the 2002 offseason with three years left on his contract following a longer-than-average nine-year NFL career.
McDuffie, who was the Dolphins' first-round pick from Penn State in the 1993 NFL Draft, led the NFL with 90 receptions for 1,050 yards and seven touchdowns in 1998. McDuffie had only 43 receptions for 516 yards and two touchdowns in 1999 and 14 receptions for 143 yards and no touchdowns in 2000. He finished his career with 415 receptions for 5,074 yards and 29 career touchdowns.
``The jury awarded $10 million of lost earnings and $1.5 million of anguish,'' said Stuart Ratzan, who handled the case along with Herman Russomanno. ``They were moved by the shattered dreams and career of Mr. McDuffie.''
According to the Associated Press, Uribe called the decision a travesty and an appeal is likely.