• Former USC Football Player Sues University

    LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A pharmaceutical company named in a lawsuit by former USC defensive end Armond Armstead — who alleges team doctors gave him painkillers that caused a heart attack and damaged his future potential as an NFL player — has filed a cross-complaint against the university.

    SportsPharm Pharmaceuticals Inc. brought the action last Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Also named is Trojan football team physician Dr. James Tibone and another pharmaceutical firm, Hospira Inc.

    The cross-complaint asks that any damages awarded Armstead be apportioned among the defendants and that SportsPharm be compensated by their co-defendants for their attorneys’ fees.

    In February, Judge Yvette Palazuelos found there were enough details in Armstead complaint to support for now his allegations of fraud and negligence. She also said his lawyers had to file an amended complaint clarifying how USC purportedly interfered with Armstead’s economic prospects as a professional player, his emotional stress claim and how team Tibone allegedly battered him.

    Palazuelos dismissed the suit’s products liability allegations.

    Armstead filed his suit last Aug. 30. It alleges that Tibone and other USC doctors irresponsibly treated Armstead while he played for the Trojans, requiring him to take the painkilling drug Toradol several times without informing him of the possible side effects. SportsPharm is alleged to have supplied the drug to USC.   Armstead’s lawyers maintain Tibone battered Armstead by giving him Toradol “without limitation” and “without his informed consent.”

    The suit — which also names Tibone,  University Park Health Center and SportsPharm Pharmaceuticals– alleges that USC knew Armstead suffered a heart attack and purposely withheld that he had received Toradol from his doctors.

    According to Armstead attorney Robert Bale, Toradol is not used for medical reasons, but instead to keep injured players playing instead of recuperating.

    “It keeps injured players on the field to benefit USC financially,” he said during the February hearing.     Armstead was given an ultimatum regarding the drug, Bale said.

    “If you don’t get this shot, you don’t play, and if you don’t play, you don’t get scouted, and if you’re not scouted, you don’t play in the NFL,” Bale said.

    Armstead had wanted since childhood to play in the NFL, Bale said.

    USC attorney Louis Pappas disputed Bale’s characterization of Toradol.

    “Toradol is a safe drug,” he said.

    Armstead, 22, played three seasons for USC from 2008-10, starting 17 games and making 59 tackles. He was not medically cleared to play for the Trojans in 2011 because of a training incident.   Armstead was not taken in the draft, but played last season with the Grey Cup-winning Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. The Argonauts released him in January and that same month he signed with the New England Patriots.

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