Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Some Thoughts on Bouchard's Lawsuit Against the USTA

Like many expected, Eugenie Bouchard has filed a lawsuit against the USTA stemming from her fall in the locker room during the US Open which purportedly gave her a concussion and forced her to withdraw from the tournament.  As with most lawsuits there's a good chance it settles, but should it go to trial the issue of determining damages could be quite interesting. 

In addition to damages for pain and suffering and whatever else she is claiming, Bouchard will presumably be seeking damages based on the lost earnings the injury has cost her.  Given that tennis players have no guaranteed income and their earnings depend on them winning matches, Bouchard would be trying to convince a jury that because of the fall she has lost out on a significant amount of money that she otherwise would have won had she been playing. 

This could put Bouchard in a somewhat awkward position, given that the defense attorneys would be arguing the damages she suffered as a result of her injury were minimal.  Essentially, they would try to establish that based on her form throughout 2015, it's unlikely she would have earned much money had she been playing.  It could be a bit embarrassing for Bouchard if Exhibit A is a screenshot of her poor 2015 results from the WTA's website. 

It's hard to believe Bouchard wouldn't get a bit frustrated when the defense attorney asks her "Isn't it true that you lost to Ying-Ying Duan in the first round at Wimbledon? ...." ... "And, she's not ranked in the top 100 in the world, is she?" (as he proceeds to go down the list).  Bouchard's attorneys would presumably introduce evidence of her strong results and earnings in 2014 and argue she was moving in the right direction based on a strong US Open pre-slip, and then it would be up to the jury to award whatever amount of damages they think is appropriate.  Moreover, Bouchard claiming that her ranking is falling because of the injury could seemingly get picked apart, given that it was plummeting pre-injury based on all the points she failed to defend from 2014 throughout the year.

It probably won't make it to that point, but it's hard not to be intrigued by the potential battle at trial over the earnings she lost as a result of the USTA's alleged negligence.  

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