A lawyer for the San Francisco-based National Basketball Association said Tuesday that his team of attorneys is filing a lawsuit against the NBA over its handling of a fatal bike accident in which two cyclists were killed and more than a dozen were injured in October.
The lawsuit is a response to the league’s announcement in late October that it had decided not to enforce a ban on certain types of helmet use in the wake of the fatal crash of cyclist Anthony Gomes, an NBA rookie, in May.
The National Basketball Players Association and other advocacy groups, including the NBA Players Association, have challenged the league in court to stop the ban, saying the rules should be changed to allow athletes to wear helmets, not penalize them for wearing helmets.
In response, the league has said that the rules would not apply to athletes.
But lawyers for the NPA filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the league alleging that the NBA is violating the federal Motor Vehicle Act by allowing athletes to be allowed to wear helmet-protected helmets without penalty.
The lawyers, who include attorneys at New York-based Williams, Miller & Rooney, and San Francisco’s Mayer Brown, said in the lawsuit that the league is “ignoring the best interests of injured and injured-persons in this country, including those who are the most vulnerable to being injured in motor vehicle crashes.”
The lawsuit asks the court to “reject the league and its policy” that would allow athletes and their families to use helmets without having to wear them in motor vehicles.
It seeks unspecified damages for negligence, the filing said.
The suit does not specify a number.
The NPA has been working with the NBA and the NPSA, the governing body of the NBA, to come up with a solution to the helmet rule, said attorney Adam Hochman, a Williams attorney.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The court has yet to schedule a hearing.
The league and NPA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In an email to the Washington Post, the NPOA, which represents the league, said the lawsuit “is a baseless attack on our members, our game and the game of basketball.”