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Posted on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Man sues Nike after injuring knee while playing basketball

By John Counts

A 24-year-old South Lyon man has filed a lawsuit against Nike, Inc. claiming faulty sneakers contributed to a knee injury sustained while playing basketball at a Salem Township church gymnasium.


Courtesy NIKE, Inc.

Brett Gaudreau filed the suit in the Washtenaw County Trial Court July 18, records show.

The suit says that Gaudreau received a pair of NIKE Shox Deliver shoes as a gift in Decemeber 2011. On April 8, 2012, Gaudreau was wearing the shoes while playing in a pick-up basketball game at Salem Bible Church, said his attorney, Mark F. Miller of Mount Clemens.

While playing, “one of the columns supporting the heel of the left shoe detached from the insole” and caused Gaudreau’s knee to give out, which tore the anterior cruciate ligament, meniscus and cartilage, according to the lawsuit.

“He suffered a pretty bad injury,” Miller said.

Gaudreau played high school sports and was in good physical shape at the time of the injury, which required reconstructive surgery and kept Gaudreau from working his construction job, his attorney said.

The suit lists three counts of negligence.

“We raised a number of allegations in the complaint about the design and manufacture of the shoe,” Miller said.

The suit claims the shoes were not safe and were perhaps not properly tested or inspected. In addition to the knee injury, Gaudreau suffered permanent scarring, humiliation and embarrassment.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $25,000, the minimum amount needed for the case to be heard in circuit court.

Nike representatives did not return phone calls. There were no court dates yet scheduled. Miller said he wasn't sure if Nike had even been served with the lawsuit yet.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

What moron attorney did this guy run into. Agree this kind of blather impacts us all - Higher cost of goods to make sure lawyers get their share of the economy.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

@ FredMax, re: "Your take on the case is no less misleading than the "myth" perpetuated by talk radio." That wasn't my "take" on the case, I was just passing along the facts. Look it up some time. And @ a2citizen, re: "If the final settlement was confidential how do you know it was not for much more than medical costs?" We know that the judge reduced it to $640K, and it was settled down from that. Heck, my wife had two $70K Caesarians! So, eight days in the hospital? Skin grafts? Two years of medical follow-up? I think it's safe to say that the settlement was for not much more (if at all) than medical costs.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

if the shoes were brand new out the box I may be alittle more apt to get on board with his claims however the shoes were 4 months old, who knows really how much use/wear and tear they had sustained or how they were cared (or not cared) for. Thats Nike's out right there. They can sent my per hour fee to their fav charity, lol. Kidding aside this is the kind of case that makes me hit my head on the wall and wonder what has happened to our country.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

In addition to comments questioning the suitability of this particular shoe to playing basketball, there is also the question of how many times the litigant wore them (December to April is not an insignificant period of time). Perhaps he had already gone far beyond a simple "break-in" time. At any rate, an absurdity all around, and worthy of tossing as frivolous.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

Given how much people pay for Nike shoes, and given how much they claim in their adverstising, and given that the shoe actually broke leading to an injury, he has a lejitimate case, or a "leg to stand on" if you will.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

I think he would be more successful suing Nike for releasing such an ugly shoe. That case might have some wheels. I feel that the humiliation and embarrassment aspects of the case have no merit, since anyone who would wear something so ugly clearly does not mind being embarrassed and humiliated in public.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Well, if the guy got hurt because the shoe disintegrated, then this lawsuit is perfectly appropriate. So why am I still thinking of Jackie Chiles from "Seinfeld"? "It's outrageous, egregious, preposterous!"


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

If I wore those shoes in public I'd *expect* to get humiliated.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

Sounds to me like another attorney sees the golden goose! Where is our level for personal responsibility?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

@Craig; The link provided shows the shoes. They appear to be from 2008. Dicks Sporting Goods classifies the (current) Shox as either "fashion sneaker is great-looking and inspired by running footwear" or running shoes, so you have a point there. At first I thought the guy might have a point, but maybe not anymore. You don't expect your shoes to fall apart underneath you though. That part is not good. But the age of the model and the fact that it was not used for the correct sport will not help his case.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

@ motorcycleminer, re: "he should have poured hot coffee in his lap and sued McDonalds while he was at it .." The myth of "The Million-Dollar Cup Of Coffee" lives on. The fact is that the courts do a pretty decent job of sorting these things out. The 79-year-old woman who was burned by a way-too-hot cup of coffee spent over a week in the hospital receiving skin grafts, and underwent a couple of years of medical treatment afterwards. Yes, the jury didn't like McDonald's arrogant attitude and refusal to settle, and the jury then copped an attitude. The final settlement was confidential, but it wasn't for much more than medical costs. But the myth of "The Million-Dollar Cup Of Coffee," perpetuated by Talk Radio and others, has made that case one of the best things that ever happened to the insurance industry.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

"...The final settlement was confidential, but it wasn't for much more than medical costs...." If the final settlement was confidential how do you know it was not for much more than medical costs?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Your take on the case is no less misleading than the "myth" perpetuated by talk radio.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

There was a powerful documentary about the case as well, made in 2011, named "Hot Coffee". The trailer alone is pretty interesting:

Hugh Giariola

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

I'm normally against seemingly frivolous lawsuits of this vein. However, here are 2 things to consider: 1) The victim is saying "one of the columns supporting the heel of the left shoe detached from the insole," indicating a defective product. 2) The amount of $25K he is suing for is not outrageous but in line with what his medical costs and rehab might be. In this case I believe it may be ok for the plaintiff to present their evidence of defectiveness and let the courts decide.

Hugh Giariola

Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.

My mistake about "in excess of" 25K. I would still support it at least having a day in court if it were a reasonable amount, not excessive.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

despite the seeming 5 minute lapse between my post and Cheryl Urban's post i swear i didn't see her's or i wouldn't have restated her point.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

with respect to #2 the amount isn't 25K its MORE than 25K " the minimum amount needed for the case to be heard in circuit court."

Cheryl Urban

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

In addressing #2-the article said the claim was "in excess of $25,000...". It might far exceed the medical costs and rehab.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

Frankly, I am surprised anyone would admit to wearing such an ugly shoe. Did you look at them? If the shoe broke prematurely, then he would seem to have a case. Unless the shoes had been abused by playing on a rough surface. Like a parking lot.

Homeland Conspiracy

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

It looks like a golf shoe

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

I was hoping this was umich suing Nike over sweat shop labor and for an early exit to their contract.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Nicholas, are you telling me you dont own a single piece of clothing made by someone in another country that may or may not have the same labor practices and wages as ours, or that you have never purchased said piece of clothing for someone else as a gift or present? How about your phone? Do you have one of those made in the USA phones? You were hoping Michigan was suing Addidas? Kepp hoping and wishing for your sweat shop free-only people who ride bike utopia! Reality is cleary distorted for some!

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

Correction: I was hoping this was umich suing Addidas over sweat shop labor and for an early exit to their contract.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

UM doesn't have a contract with Nike.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

Michigan Athletics has a contract with Addidas not Nike. Typical Walmart Woverine.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

I'm not familiar with Nike Shox but looking through the Nike web site they do not seem to be basketball shoes. In my younger days I played a lot of basketball and and I ran a lot. One thing I never did was cross over my shoes. Running shoes and basketball shoes are NOT interchangeable.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

Craig....that makes sense it's just kinda hard sometimes to know if you are being serious or not :)

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

tdw, In this case I'm serious. If those shoes weren't basketball shoes they weren't designed for the lateral pressure and start stop stuff of basketball. A running shoe is a pretty much a light weight move in one direction shoe. A basketball shoe is designed for all the sideways backward stuff on a basketball floor.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

Craig....I can't tell if you are being humorous ( per the norm ) or not, but I thumbs up you anyway

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

maybe they discontinued a basketball line of Shox. If so I retract my comment.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

This is why the losing party should pay all the costs of the winner.There was a bill passed for just that but a certain President who was in the pocket of trial lawyers vetoed it


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

Nope! I checked the Wikipedia list of presidential vetoes. Cinton had 37 vetoes and that wasn't on the list.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

Semper....I was trying to be non political but it was Clinton.I can't be more specific I just remember it quite well.So no, I'm not pulling anything out of thin air


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

You'll have to be more specific with your accusations. I can't find a single mention of any bill being sent to the White House that refers to the action to which you refer. Thin air?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

And attorneys should be disciplined for repeatedly bringing suits that judges throw out as frivolous. That assumes, of course, that the judges themselves would exercise good sense.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

YOU'VE got to be kidding. What a senseless action.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

Nike is pretty much responsible in this case it seems......provided they were legitimate Nike shoes, and not some knock-offs purchased off of ebay or a non-licensed dealer...cause that will most likely be the angle Nike takes to defend itself.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

uh....WHAT? (scratches head)


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

Yes or the fact that they were a gift which seems to offer an opening for a defense, still if a new pair of shoes blows out on you like that it is not good? I remember years ago when some bike frames had a faulty joining method and they would flex apart and break during vigorous use the manufacturer was held responsible


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

Hope its thrown out an Nike counter sues and cleans his clock...he should have poured hot coffee in his lap and sued McDonalds while he was at it ..


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

Remember that name folks, in case he comes looking for a job.

dading dont delete me bro

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

fast food made me fat


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:51 a.m.

if memory serves me correct I think McDonalds got sued for just that

tom swift jr.

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:18 a.m.

"humiliation"??? really? Did all of his friends stand around pointing and laughing as he rolled on the floor in pain? Everytime I see a word like that attached to a law suit, my respect for the parties involved takes a plunge and I KNOW that its a money grab on the part of the attorney and the plaintiff, pure and simple.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:12 a.m.

It is garbage like this that contributes to the low public opinion of lawyers. Is Attorney Miller looking for a quick settlement? I hope Nike makes him try his frivolous case and spend the tens of thousands of dollars it will take to hire the necessary experts to prove a products liability case. What an embarrassment.

Chaz H

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:01 a.m.

If he wins, perhaps I will sue Asics for my sore knee from years of running while wearing their shoes! (I hope the case gets thrown out)

Ghost of John Stamos

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:45 a.m.

This could almost be an Onion headline.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:32 a.m.

This answer would surely be deleted by the moderator were I to state my true opinion and feelings. In my opinion, this action is not a good idea for the plaintiff, or for the lawyer....or for the rest of us 'bystanders'......