Football

Former Texas LB Malik Jefferson suing two insurance companies for ‘loss of value’

Linebacker seeking up to $2.25 million after turf toe injury hurt his chances in the 2018 NFL draft

Posted March 28th, 2019

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Former Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson is suing two British insurance companies over their refusal to pay off a policy meant to recoup lost money if any injury hurt the athlete’s 2018 NFL draft status.

According to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Austin, Jefferson paid all required premiums to Novae Corporate Underwriting Limited and Neon Underwriting Limited, two insurance companies based in London.

Houston-based attorney Barry Abrams said it was his firm’s policy that he could not comment on the case. Jefferson, who requested a jury trial in the filing, could not be reached for comment; he attended UT’s pro timing day on Wednesday and was leaving Austin.

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The New York-based law firm Mendes & Mount was listed as the representatives for the two insurance companies. A message about the filing was not immediately returned.

Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Novae and Neon agreed to insure Jefferson for a “loss of value” up to $1.5 million and a maximum amount of $2.25 million if he was injured during the 2017 season at UT, the filing states.

Jefferson suffered a turf toe injury against Kansas on Nov. 11, 2017, and the linebacker was advised to rest 4-6 weeks by team doctors.

Jefferson went through pre-game warmups at the Texas Bowl and tried to play. The team was even ready to have Jefferson wear Tommy Nobis’ jersey No. 60 to honor the famous UT linebacker’s recent passing. Ultimately, the toe injury sidelined him for UT’s win over Missouri, and Breckyn Hager wore No. 60.

Jefferson returned to gradual training leading up to the 2018 NFL scouting combine but went through only certain drills in Indianapolis. He also did not run the 40-yard dash at Texas’ pro timing day last March due to “continuing pain of his injury,” the filing states.

“As a result of his injury, Jefferson was not a first-round selection chosen for the 2018 NFL Draft,” according to the lawsuit. Jefferson was a third-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals.

On April 31, 2018, Jefferson submitted a loss of value claim to the two insurance companies and later other documentation to support the injury. The suit claims the insurance companies “engaged in considerable delay” and made redundant requests for performance history and medical records.

Finally on Oct. 19, 2018, the linebacker received a letter saying that his claim was being denied “on the basis that Jefferson’s toe injury was not the sole cause of his declining draft status.” The insurance companies failed to over any other legitimate factors for Jefferson’s draft decline.

This month, Jefferson received notice that his request for a formal review was essentially denied, the filing states. Thus, he is seeking damages only to the maximum benefit amount of $2.25 million, according to the lawsuit.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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