Darryl Hammond's Family Sues Studios for Wrongful Death

Darryl Hammond_ONE TIME USE - AP - H 2019
Mark Humphrey/AP Photo

The family of late football player turned actor Darryl Hammond is suing the Arena Football League and several major studios after an autopsy revealed he had suffered more than 200 concussions. 

Hammond died Feb. 19, 2017, following a battle with ALS. Now, his wife Robin Hammond is suing the AFL, Disney, Paramount and Columbia Pictures for fraud, negligence, breach of contract and wrongful death. She says his 15 years of arena football, and the playing he did while filming The Longest Yard and Invincible, caused brain injury.

"Football is unquestionably an aggressive and violent sport with physical injuries being common," writes attorney Rhonda Wills in the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. "As such it is vital to the safety of the players that Defendants act reasonably through research studies and other means to identify the risks associated with playing football, to keep players informed of the risks that they identify, and to take responsible steps based on their findings to protect players."

Hammond's family claims the defendants knew or should have known that football players whose heads are impacted while playing can suffer traumatic brain injuries and are at higher risk of subsequent similar injuries. Research shows, according to the complaint, that these injuries can cause early-onset Alzheimers, dementia, depression, mood swings and, of course, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). 

Robin Hammond is asking the court for a declaration that defendants knew or should have known the repeated and unnecessary head trauma her husband endured while playing football was likely to cause brain injury including, but not limited to, CTE, and that they willfully and intentionally concealed the risk. She also is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. 

The defendants have not yet responded to requests for comment.