Providence dismissed as defendant in George Fox football lawsuit
One-time George Fox University football player Samuel Wani has agreed to dismiss Providence Medical Group from a wide-ranging lawsuit brought against the university, several employees and a local physician for allegedly misdiagnosing and subsequently refusing to treat a hand injury he suffered during preseason practices in 2015.
Wani filed in June a federal civil complaint in United States District Court in Portland without the assistance of an attorney, alleging, among other things, medical fraud and refusal of treatment after injuring his thumb in practice.
Wani believed that his thumb had been broken and requested to see a doctor, but claims that George Fox head football athletic trainer Gregg Boughton told him it was sprained and denied his request several times.
Wani eventually went on his own to Providence Newberg Medical Center to receive an x-ray and submitted evidence that it revealed a fracture and major swelling of the metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint in his thumb, which required a cast and cut short his football season.
Wani eventually left the school a few weeks later, but claims his requests to George Fox to cover the cost of his medical treatment, including a surgery that he had to wait more than a year to receive, were denied.
Providence Medical Group was named in the suit because George Fox consulted with one of its physicians, Dr. Thomas Croy, about Wani's injury, which appears to be the basis for the school's refusal to pay for treatment.
According to a letter sent from then dean of students Mark Pothoff to Wani, which also detailed George Fox's investigation into and response to other allegations regarding the school's handling of a cyber-bullying incident with a teammate, the university claimed to have followed protocol in consulting with Croy, who "had reviewed the X-ray, and your thumb, and also came to the conclusion that it was not broken."
According to court documents, through, an attorney for Providence Medical Group, Sheri Browning, assured Wani that her client had not communicated with George Fox University about his injury or its treatment. Furthermore, she informed him that Croy was not hired by Providence until Sept. 28, which was well after Croy's consulation with GFU.
"Given that Providence has been working with me and provided me everything that I have asked of them, I believe that they have provided me all the sufficient information I need to remove them from both lawsuits," Wani wrote in a letter accompanying his request to the court.
According to Providence Medical Group spokesman Mike Antrim, the organization will not comment on the matter.
Wani actually filed two separate complaints, both of which name Croy as a defendant, and filed requests in both cases to dismiss Providence.
Those two suits, however, appear likely to be whittled down to just one due to a pair of motions that have yet to be ruled upon. The first motion is to dismiss case No. 01292, because it is essentially the same as the second (No. 01011). The second motion is request to join the two suits in the event that District Court Judge Youlee Yim You, who is presiding over both, elects to deny the first motion.
Wani is seeking more than $70 million in damages, including $40 million plus medical expenses from George Fox, claiming "this is the amount of money I would be making in a six- to eight-year NFL career as a defensive end or linebacker."
There appears to be no record that Wani, who was 23 when he arrived at GFU, has ever made the roster of any college football team.
The suit also seeks$89,600 in lost wages as a physical trainer over 16 months and $36,000 in living expenses since his injury.
George Fox released a statement July 7 stating that it is not in a position to comment generally on Wani's allegations or the pending litigation, but confirms some of the basic facts about his time at the school.
"University Student Life staff, athletic department staff, coaches and medical providers spent extensive time with Mr. Wani during his short attendance attempting to understand and address his concerns," the statement from GFU read. "Until this lawsuit, university staff believed they had adequately addressed Mr. Wani's concerns. The university condemns all forms of cyberbullying and racial discrimination, which have no place in the George Fox community."