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The Los Angeles Chargers doctor who is caring for Justin Herbert’s fractured rib cartilage is being sued for medical malpractice by former Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who is seeking at least $5 million after suffering a punctured lung while being treated for a rib injury in 2020, according to copies of the original lawsuit and subsequent filings related to the case obtained by ESPN.
Taylor, who now plays for the New York Giants, is suing Chargers team doctor David S. Gazzaniga and the Newport Orthopedic Institute that he runs, according to the lawsuit.
The trial originally was scheduled for November, but both sides agreed to move it to April because of the current NFL season. The issue has been percolating since the lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in May 2021 for an injury that occurred almost exactly two years ago Sunday.
Moments before the Chargers’ game on Sept. 20, 2020, against the Kansas City Chiefs, Taylor suffered a punctured lung when Gazzaniga attempted to administer a pain-killing injection to his fractured ribs.
Taylor, 33, alleges in the lawsuit that he suffered “severe physical pain resulting in hospitalization, physical therapy, emotional distress and other past pain and suffering.”
Taylor’s attorneys also contend that Gazzaniga’s “negligence, carelessness and other tortious, unlawful and wrong acts … caused [Taylor] to lose position as the starting quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers for the 2020 season,” just before he was scheduled to become a free agent.
“As he returned to free agency,” the lawsuit contends, “he entered as a back-up quarterback as opposed to a starting quarterback. The economic difference between a starting quarterback’s salary and a back-up quarterback salary is at least $5,000,000 and is more than likely much greater. The exact amount of such past and future loss is unknown to [Taylor] at this time, and he will ask leave of this Court for permission to amend this Complaint to set forth the total amount when ascertained.”
Tyrod Taylor began the 2020 season as the Chargers’ starting quarterback but suffered a punctured lung while being treated for a rib injury on Sept. 20 and did not play for the rest of the year. Jae C. Hong/AP
Taylor signed a two-year deal worth up to $17 million, including $8.5 million guaranteed, with the Giants in March. He was active for last week’s season opener against the Tennessee Titans as the backup to Daniel Jones.
Taylor’s attorneys also accuse Gazzaniga of “medical battery” in the lawsuit, because the quarterback “did not have proper and accurate informed consent prior to the anesthetic injections.”
Gazzaniga has remained a part of the Chargers’ training staff and was part of the team that treated Herbert on Thursday night after the third-year quarterback suffered his injury and struggled to finish the game.
The NFL Players Association and Herbert’s representatives are expected to closely monitor how the Chargers handle their starting quarterback as he deals with the injury.
Chargers coach Brandon Staley already has said Herbert will be “day-to-day,” and the team will not determine whether he will practice this week until Wednesday. The Chargers play the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday.
Taylor did not play for the remainder of the 2020 season after the rib injury and subsequent punctured lung, as Herbert started Los Angeles’ remaining 15 games and went on to set the NFL rookie record for touchdown passes.
After the 2020 season, Taylor joined the Texans on a one-year deal worth up to $12.5 million and began the season as Houston’s starting quarterback, but he suffered a hamstring injury in Week 2 and missed six games. Taylor returned from injured reserve to start four more games before the Texans turned to rookie Davis Mills as their starting quarterback in early December.