By GREGG AAMOT, Associated Press Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A judge dismissed claims by Korey Stringer's widow against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday but allowed her $100 million wrongful death lawsuit to go forward against the team's training camp physician and his clinic.
The Vikings had asked Judge Gary Larson to throw out the lawsuit filed by Kelci Stringer. She contends her 27-year-old husband did not receive proper medical care when he collapsed during training camp July 31, 2001.
Korey Stringer, a native of Warren, Ohio, who became a 335-pound Pro Bowl lineman in the NFL, died early the next morning.
In a 103-page opinion, Larson granted the Vikings' request, but he said the case can go trial against Dr. David Knowles and the Mankato Clinic. He dismissed claims against two other doctors employed by the Vikings.
Kelci Stringer's attorney, Stanley Chesley, said the Stringer family intends to go forward against Knowles and the clinic, and will appeal Larson's dismissal of the claims against the Vikings trainers and coaches and two other team physicians.
The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial June 9.
"The Stringers expect their position that Vikings employees and physicians were responsible for Korey's death to be upheld in the end," Chesley said.
The team said the ruling ends a "a very difficult period for the entire Vikings family."
"While we are very confident that Judge Larson's very thorough opinion followed what we believe is the appropriate law in Minnesota, it does not diminish the loss of Korey to his family and the Vikings," the team said in a statement.
The case has turned on issues of doctor-patient relationships, the intricacies of worker's compensation law and physical demands placed on pro athletes. A key legal issue was whether the Vikings were grossly negligent in treating Stringer.
Absent gross negligence, state workers compensation laws take precedence, and they limit the amount of relief Stringer's widow can get from the team.