I suggested that, because a scheduled jury trial next month had been cancelled and neither Namoff’s attorneys nor United wanted to comment, the sides may have reached a settlement and were bound by a confidentiality agreement.
However, D.C. Superior Court documents show the sides did not settle. The case, which sought $20 million in total damages, was dismissed.
A judge ruled workers’ compensation laws barred Namoff’s claim against United, Soehn and Goodstein.
Namoff’s claim against Annunziata and Commonwealth Orthopaedics was withdrawn after the defense provided a detailed list of evidence that Namoff was not as sick as he stated.
In an interview Tuesday, attorneys for Annunziata and the medical group said no payment was ever offered or made.
“Given our contention in the lawsuit that there was no liability whatsoever as to Dr. Annunziata — who takes his responsibilities very seriously — we are pleased that the case was dismissed with no payment made to the plaintiffs,” said Paige Levy Smith, an attorney for Sands Anderson PC, which represented Annunziata and Commonwealth Orthopaedics.
In the suit, Namoff and his attorneys said the brain injury rendered him “totally disabled and incapable of engaging in any meaningful employment.”
However, defense attorneys said Namoff, 35, continued to run a business, The Soccer Pros, which organized and operated youth camps in the Washington area. In court documents, they also said Namoff made “misleading, less-than-fully truthful statements and outright lies under oath regarding central issues in this case concerning his condition and ability to work.”
In a 79-page motion for sanctions, the defense introduced e-mails illustrating Namoff’s active involvement in the business, many of which originated in Namoff’s alternate accounts and were allegedly concealed in the discovery process. “They demonstrated indisputably clear evidence that Mr. Namoff had been working actively and consistently for his company and performing in capacities well beyond how he had described his role,” the defense said.
Namoff’s wife, Nadine, was a co-plaintiff.
“It is unfortunate how the events have taken an unfavorable turn,” Namoff said. “However, Nadine and I still stand strong by the claims we have made. My life has been significantly impacted in a negative way as a result of the September 9, 2009 concussion. My mentality has always been to persevere and fight through any difficult situation and that has been my worst enemy. It is incredibly defeating to hear claims that I can work or lead a normal life because there is nothing farther from the truth.
“We did not dismiss the case because the defense’s accusations were accurate. To think that I would put myself and my wife through this without being severely injured or incapable of working is unreasonable. Ultimately we made the decision to dismiss the case because the toll it was taking on both Nadine and me. Our health and well-being means far more than any dollar amount. It is now time to move on and for us to focus on a better quality of life. Nadine and I both plan to make it our life’s mission to make a difference and ensure that the right protocol is put in place with respect to diagnosing, managing, and treating sports related concussions so no one will have to suffer like I do every single day.”
Namoff, a nine-year pro, was one of the longest-serving players in United history. In the club’s record book, he is third in regular season matches played (195), fourth in starts (179) and fourth in minutes (16,045).
The former Bradley University star was hurt late in the 2009 MLS season. In a match against Kansas City, he extended himself to head the ball when an opponent’s shoulder crashed into his head and created a whiplash sensation. He remained in the game.
Afterward, the 2012 complaint said, Namoff did not receive proper treatment. Namoff “was not assessed, evaluated or examined” by United officials and didn’t practice but was allowed to play in the next game three days later against Seattle. In that subsequent match, according to the lawsuit, Namoff “experienced and exhibited post-concussive symptoms, which were significantly exacerbated by the end of the game.”
Over the next several months, Namoff experienced migraines, nausea, dizziness and vertigo. The whiplash caused upper cervical trauma, affecting the joints and ligament in his vertebrae. Numerous specialists examined him, including Robert Cantu, the renowned neurologist and concussion expert.
In early 2010, as United prepared for the upcoming season, Namoff was hopeful of playing again. Symptoms persisted, however.
“Every minute of every day, I have a headache,” he told the Insider in early 2012. “It’s the invisible nightmare.”
Last summer, when head injuries at the World Cup in Brazil brought global attention to the problem, Namoff addressed the issue in an NBC News report.
Brain injuries have ended the careers of numerous pro athletes, including former MLS star Taylor Twellman and Namoff’s teammates Alecko Eskandarian,Josh Gros and Devon McTavish. Last year a former Portland forward sued the Timbers for allowing him to practice with concussion symptoms.
The issue led MLS in 2011 to implement concussion protocol (baseline testing, removal from action when a brain injury is suspected and evaluation by medical staff) and to initiate an awareness campaign.