Ohio Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LeCharles Bentley in Suit Against Browns (Updated)

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Seen here during his 11 minutes with the Browns.
  • Seen here during his 11 minutes with the Browns.

Update II: LeCharles Bentley has settled his lawsuit against the Cleveland Browns stemming from the staph infection he suffered following a knee injury back in 2006. And it was all solved by a face-to-face meeting between Bentley and Randy Lerner back in June, and there's some good for the community in this agreement, not just a check for Bentley.

Via Fox Sports Ohio:

“These last six years have been the most trying time of my life, but now that it is over I can honestly say I am a better man for having gone through it,” Bentley said in a statement Monday night. “Randy Lerner and I - two men born and raised in Cleveland - were able to sit down face to face back in June and come to an agreement that was fair.”

The only part of the agreement that was announced is a scholarship program at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. Bentley asked and Lerner agreed that the Browns fund six scholarships for underprivileged kids at Bentley’s alma mater. The scholarship program will continue for 20 years.

“One hundred and twenty young men will be blessed with a scholarship to attend one of the most academically and athletically rigorous schools in the country,” Bentley said. “(To) a school that not only provides a great education, but also molds boys into responsible men. This is another example of the good things the Lerner family does for this city that nobody ever hears about."

Good on both guys for this.

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Update: The Browns wanted the Supreme Court to weigh in on their appeal in the LeCharles Bentley staph arbitration case (summarized neatly below), but the highest court in the land said no, according to the AP. Having exhausted all options now, the case will be heard in Cuyahoga County courts. (WKYC)

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Lest you think the Cleveland Browns are coming up losers solely on the football field, in NFL conference rooms, and in the hearts of small children who cry every time their games come on TV, rest assured they are also fumbling snaps in the courtroom these days.

Late last month, the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the Browns in a lawsuit filed by former Pro Bowl lineman LeCharles Bentley.

The suit’s origins date back to 2006, when Browns players caught more staph infections in the locker room than passes on the field. Bentley’s career was ended by an infection that nearly required his leg to be amputated, he claims. He never played a single game for the Browns. The Cleveland native sued the team over it in 2010; former receiver Joe Jurevicius filed a similar suit that was settled out of court.
But the Browns are fighting Bentley’s claim, and they had hoped to get the Supreme Court’s nod to halt the proceedings altogether. The club believes Bentley’s contract and the NFL’s collective-bargaining agreement dictate that the case be settled through arbitration instead of litigation. In court filings, the team argued that Bentley was attempting to circumvent his contractual obligations through “artful pleading,” by which they apparently do not mean interpretive dance.

Two previous court rulings also favored Bentley’s request to keep the case on track. No trial date has been set.

"We're obviously disappointed," says Linda Woggon, executive VP of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, which joined the Greater Cleveland Partnership in filing supporting briefs in the Browns’ bid to avoid court. "We hoped they would take the case because we felt there are significant larger issues for the business community. When partners agree about the way they will resolve disputes, and when one party then doesn't take that approach and instead chooses expensive litigation, it creates a less predictable legal climate for businesses. Taking tort action instead of arbitration sets a bad precedent."

Also a bad precedent: Establishing a culture of losing so thorough that post-game showers are more dangerous than the games themselves.

Calls to the Greater Cleveland Partnership and to Bentley’s attorney were not returned.

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