Former NBA Star Claims Insurance Denied COVID-Related Claim


NORTH CAROLINA- In what is shaping up to be a landmark case in the insurance world, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the former NBA player and second pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, has filed a staggering $40 million lawsuit against his insurer, Lloyd’s Underwriters. The suit was initiated in the North Carolina federal court after the insurance company allegedly denied a significant claim following Kidd-Gilchrist’s devastating diagnosis of myocarditis – a heart condition believed to have been triggered by COVID-19.

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Kidd-Gilchrist’s promising career as an NBA player was tragically halted due to this unforeseen medical crisis. The onset of acute left-side chest pain during a basketball game in December 2020, was only the beginning of his ordeal. After being assessed by Dr. David J. Engel, a leading cardiologist at Columbia University Medical Center, Kidd-Gilchrist was advised to abstain from all physical activity due to symptoms suggestive of “post-viral pericarditis.” Subsequent investigations led to a confirmed diagnosis of myopericarditis, a severe manifestation of acute pericarditis.

Despite these medical complications, Kidd-Gilchrist’s attempt to claim coverage from Lloyd’s Underwriters was met with staunch resistance. The insurance firm allegedly depended on its own medical assessment, challenging Kidd-Gilchrist’s debilitating condition. Lloyd’s doctor reportedly argued that while Kidd-Gilchrist might need “to take it easy,” he was not permanently disabled in the same sense as “the average person seeking to continue working as a salesman or lawyer or even a physician.” This assessment conveniently overlooks Kidd-Gilchrist’s profession as an NBA player – a role that demands an unparalleled level of physical exertion and stamina.

Lloyd’s apparent disregard for the language and intent of the policy Kidd-Gilchrist procured in 2019, which explicitly provides coverage if he cannot resume his duties “as a professional basketball player” due to illness or injury, has drawn sharp criticism. This policy was secured during his tenure with the Charlotte Hornets, emphasizing his commitment to safeguarding his career and future.

However, further medical evaluations in 2023 by Dr. Engel, a recognized cardiologist affiliated with the NBA, confirmed that Kidd-Gilchrist continues to grapple with symptoms of chronic myocarditis. Dr. Engel reiterated his earlier recommendation, suggesting that Kidd-Gilchrist should abstain from intensive physical exertions.

With these damning medical evaluations in hand, Kidd-Gilchrist’s lawsuit alleges both breach of contract and bad faith on Lloyd’s part. The gravity of these allegations could have far-reaching implications for insurance providers and their duty of care towards policyholders, particularly when it comes to COVID-related coverage.

For Kidd-Gilchrist, the stakes are astronomical. According to North Carolina law, he claims entitlement not only to the full coverage amount of $10 million as per the policy but also treble damages. This totals a whopping $40 million.

Kidd-Gilchrist is being represented in court by an impressive team of lawyers from Blossom Law PLLC and Sherman Silverstein Kohl Rose & Podolsky PA.

As of now, Lloyd’s counsel remains undisclosed, and the case – Michael A. Kidd-Gilchrist v. Lloyd’s Underwriters – is set to unfold in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.

Reporting by Samuel Lopez

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