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McNair family files notice of possible lawsuit

8:33 PM ET

  • Heather DinichESPN Senior Writer
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    • College football reporter
    • Joined ESPN.com in 2007
    • Graduate of Indiana University

The law firm representing the parents of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died on June 13 from heatstroke suffered during a football workout, has filed “notice of claim forms,” which are formal letters notifying the state of the parents’ intent to sue.

The filing, which does not guarantee a suit will be filed, is required by law to give parents Martin McNair and Tonya Wilson the right to file a formal lawsuit within a year. The filing claims an amount of damages “in excess of $10 million” for each parent, and the same amount to Jordan’s estate for his pain and suffering prior to his death, for a total liability of more than $30 million.

The document, obtained by ESPN, specifically names suspended Maryland football coach DJ Durkin, suspended head athletic trainer Wes Robinson and former strength and conditioning coach Rick Court, who has since left his position, as “other persons involved.”

Hassan Murphy, a managing partner for the law firm Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, told ESPN on Tuesday a lawsuit remains likely.

“We’re still waiting for the results of the investigations, and we are still in the process of conducting our own investigation, which we have not yet concluded,” he said. “It’s hard to say when we will be in a position to make a decision. We will endeavor to work as quickly as possible once we have all of the information we need. The chances of us not filing a case at this point given what we know are slim.”

According to the notice, at a workout on May 29, “University of Maryland officials and employees caused Jordan McNair’s heatstroke, failed to recognize Jordan McNair’s symptoms of heatstroke, and failed to provide Jordan McNair with medical treatment, further exacerbating the severity of his heatstroke.”

It also states that Martin McNair and Tonya Wilson will bring claims “for negligence, gross negligence, wrongful death, survival claims, violations of federal laws and civil rights violations, and any and all other tort claims that may be discovered.”

On Aug. 14, University of Maryland president Wallace D. Loh said the school “accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes” made by its athletic training staff at the May 29 workout.

There are currently two ongoing investigations looking into the events surrounding McNair’s death. The first is being conducted by Walters Inc., which is examining whether the football staff followed proper protocol on May 29. The second is by an eight-person committee investigating the overall culture of the football program. Both are under the control of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, which is not expected to meet again until Sept. 21 at Towson University.

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