New England Patriots defensive end, Deatrich Wise, Jr., filed suit against Lloyd’s of London for breach of his policy, which was designed to protect him from any loss of value in his capacity as an up-and-coming professional football player. Wise is claiming he is owed $600,000 after missing time due to injuries sustained on the field.
<a href="http://blog.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Wise-v-Lloyds-of-London.pdf">Lloyd’s contends</a> that Wise Jr. never missed any full games, therefore, he is not eligible for coverage. The basis for Wise’s claim is that due to the games he missed in his final season of college, as a result of hand and shoulder injuries, he signed a $3 million dollar contract with Patriots -- substantially less then he would have made if he had not been injured in his final season in college.
Wise claims Lloyd’s is obligated to make up the difference between the $3 million and the $3.6 million trigger line in the policy.
Lloyd’s moved for summary judgment claiming that Wise misinterpreted the policy to account for how many plays he missed in his final college season. Lloyd’s claims that the amount of plays Wise Jr. missed is of no moment as the policy is only triggered by missed games and Wise Jr. did not miss a single game in his final season in college. Wise Jr’s attorney stated that Wise missed 312 defensive plays during the season, a sum he asserted amounts to “5.2 games.”
Lloyd’s policy requires that the insured “be unable to participate for at least 28 days and in three regular and/or postseason games” to be eligible for coverage. Therefore, Lloyd’s claims that Wise Jr. did not satisfy the requirements under the policy, therefore Lloyd’s did not breach the contract.
The suit alleges that Wise Jr’s pre-season accolades projected him to be a first round draft pick and due to the injuries he dropped out of the first round to fourth round and lost a significant amount of money. We suspect Wise Jr. has an uphill battle to survive a motion to dismiss. Perhaps he can take solace in his championship ring for SB LIII. Thanks to Jon Avolio for his contribution to this post. Please email <a href="mailto:BGibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.