Enock and Gisele Plancher, parents of UCF football player Ereck Plancher, said in an exclusive interview with the Orlando Sentinel they are grateful a jury found the UCF Athletics Association negligent in their son's death.
Plancher collapsed and died following offseason conditioning drills at the UCF football complex on March 18, 2008. A jury awarded the Plancher family $10 million in damages late Thursday night.
"We see the way the justice of this country work, that really different from my country," said Enock Plancher, who was born in Haiti and raised his family in Naples. "It was good for me, for my wife, all my family and all our friends who pray for us since the beginning of that event until now."
Orange County medical examiner Joshua Stephany and three experts hired by the Plancher family attorneys testified Plancher died from complications of sickle cell trait. Stephany told the jury extreme stress caused Plancher's red blood cells to sickle, or warp, and quickly damaged his major organs.
Dr. Martin H. Steinberg, a Boston University hematologist, testified the suggestion complications from sickle cell trait caused Ereck Plancher's death was "nuts." Steinberg, an expert hired by the UCF Athletics Association, told the jury there are no rigorous medical studies proving sickle cell trait can cause sudden death in athletes.
The jury determined there was not "clear and convincing evidence" UCFAA was liable for gross negligence and UCFAA should not pay punitive damages in the case.
UCFAA attorneys turned down a Plancher family settlement offer of about $4.75 million, so the Plancher legal team plans to file a motion asking UCFAA to pay its $1.5 million legal fees. The UCF board of trustees' attorneys filed a motion last week asking the Planchers to pay $900,000 in legal fees after they dropped their claim against the university on June 13.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-650-6353. Read Iliana Limón's blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/knightsnotepad.
Ereck Plancher trial: UCF player's parents react to verdict | Video
Enock and Gisele Plancher say they are grateful for jury's decision in Plancher wrongful death trial
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.