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Cameraman Hurt at Browns Game Wins Case

February 7, 1996

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ A television sports anchor who was hurt during a 1988 Cleveland Browns game had his $800,000 jury award reinstated Wednesday by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Justice Alice Robie Resnick said in the majority opinion _ the vote was 5-2 _ the Browns had not raised the defense of primary assumption of risk during the trial and thus could not use it on appeal.

Michael Gallagher of WJET-TV in Erie, Pa., was covering a Browns game with the Houston Oilers on Dec. 18, 1988 when two players ran into him in front of the end-zone bleacher area known as the Dawg Pound.

Gallagher said he has undergone 12 operations, has 32 screws or plates in his face and his jaw is permanently disfigured.

``I live day to day on pain medication,″ he said last year.

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas jury placed 65 percent of the blame on the Browns because of a rule that required photographers to kneel.

Jurors placed 35 percent of the blame on Gallagher, and awarded him $800,000.

The jury also returned a verdict in favor of his insurer, Northbrook Property and Casualty Insurance Co., for $106,000.

The 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals overturned the decision, and Gallagher appealed to the state’s highest court.

Justices overturned the appeals court opinion Wednesday.

Joining Resnick in the majority were Chief Justice Thomas Moyer and Justices Francis Sweeney, Paul Pfeifer and Deborah Cook. Justices Andrew Douglas and Craig Wright dissented.

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