Hermiston School District and Former Football Player Settle Out Of Court

HERMISTON – A lawsuit pitting a former Bulldog football player and his family against the Hermiston School District has come to an end. On July 6, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Marco Hernandez announced a settlement had been reached by the two parties and the case was dismissed. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed.

Connor Martin and his parents filed suit against the Hermiston School District and numerous athletic personnel in 2018. In the filing, Martin claimed he suffered permanent injuries to his head, back and neck during a football game in 2016. Martin later attempted to change the language in the filing to state he sustained the injuries during a drill prior to the game. Martin also stated in the filing his parents were not notified of the injuries and proper testing was not completed.

The original suit stated Martin “suffers from difficulty focusing on tasks, balancing and other physical and mental skills and has not been able to return to school.”

Martin and his parents were requesting $25 million in damages for Martin plus $13.2 million to cover medical expenses, both past and future. Martin’s parents were requesting $350,000 compensation for the emotional distress sustained in the relationship with their son.

In addition to the school district, those named in the lawsuit included Athletic Director Larry Usher, athletic trainer Dan Emery, head football coach David Faaeteete and JV football coach Matthew Bruck.

Martin originally claimed he was sustained a concussion in a JV game against Mountain View High School on Sept. 15, 2016. Although he was diagnosed with a concussion, the suit states Martin was placed back in the game in the fourth quarter and again played in an Oct. 20 game. The lawsuit claimed Martin never received a Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing after the Sept. 15 game.

In November 2020, all claims against Usher, Emery and Faaeteete were dismissed. The case remained against the district and some of the claims against Bruck were also left open. It was also during this hearing a video of the game surfaced. At this time, attorneys for Martin and his parents asked to amend the order to include the pregame drills. The judge denied this amendment.