Hagens Berman Files Lawsuit against Portland State University, Oregon Health Sciences University and National Collegiate Athletic Association
Sep 2 14
Attorney Steve W. Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP has filed a lawsuit on behalf of player Zach Walen against Portland State University (PSU), Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for failing to provide appropriate post-concussion medical care and negligently clearing him to return to football. Walen, whose father Mark Walen is a former NFL (Dallas Cowboys) player and former NCAA college (UCLA) football athlete, was recruited to play football for the PSU Vikings but suffered a severe concussion after receiving a direct blow to his head during his first game on Sept. 1, 2012. The athletic staff at PSU allegedly failed to identify the concussion during or after the game, and he only received medical attention when his family took him to the hospital after noticing he was exhibiting symptoms consistent with a concussion. PSU athletic staff later prepared an Injury Evaluation based on the incident, which noted that Walen was experiencing memory loss, in the form of anterograde amnesia. Walen's treatment plan stated that PSU football officials should continue to monitor Walen, and when he was symptom free and after passing ImPACT test, they could begin gradual progression back into football participation. Walen failed the post-injury ImPACT test, scoring significantly below his baseline score. Walen, however, was never asked to perform a subsequent ImPACT test, even though according to PSU's own treatment plan, a passing ImPACT test was required for Walen to return to play. Walen was also examined by Dr. Charles Webb, PSU's team doctor and Director of Sport Medicine at OHSU, who confirmed that Walen was still impaired by his concussion -- and yet didn't provide any further medical attention for his concussion. The NCAA Constitution requires that concussed athletes receive a medical clearance from a physician or a physician's designee before they can return to play. Walen never received a medical release, nor is there any release in his medical file. Walen soon began to participate in regular drills or practices and over the 2012-2013 school year, played approximately eight other games as a linebacker. During this time, Walen also began to experience unexplained anger, along with overwhelming feelings of depression and anxiety. He lost the ability to focus at school, displayed significantly impaired memory skills, and complained of crippling headaches. He withdrew from the PSU Vikings football team in October 2013. The suit seeks $5 million in estimated damages for the loss of earning potential, as well as existing and future medical expenses incurred from ongoing rehabilitation.
Portland State University Faculty and Administration Reach Tentative Settlement and Avoid Strike
Apr 6 14
The union representing Portland State University's faculty and the PSU administration reached a tentative contract settlement, thereby avoiding a strike that faculty had voted to begin April 16, 2014. The campus serves a student population of about 29,000 students, said Christopher Broderick, PSU's associate vice president for university communications, who added that the bargaining session ran all day April 4, 2014, all day April 5, 2014, through the night and ended just before dawn April 6, 2014. The faculty union's executive council must now decide whether to recommend the offer to its membership for ratification this week. If the council approves the offer, union members will be asked to vote electronically to accept or reject the contract.
Professors Serve Portland State University Strike Notice
Apr 4 14
Leaders of Portland State University’s faculty union issued a 10-day notice that members will go on strike. That means a strike could begin as early as April 16. A strike will not necessarily happen, however, because the sides are still trying to hammer out an agreement. The strike would be the first in history at an Oregon university.