PORTLAND, Ore. -- Former NBA star Bill Walton's multimillion-dollar, foot-injury lawsuit against the Portland Trail Blazers' team doctor has been settled out of court for what one source said was for 'six figures.'
A Portland newspaper, the Oregonian, quoted a source in a position to know regarding the settlement being for at least $100,000.
Larry Weinberg, president of the Blazers, who were not a party in the suit, said, 'I never felt there as any justification for the suit. The fact that he (Walton) didn't pursue it might indicate that on more sober reflection some of (his) wild statements turned out to be just that: wild, unfortunate accusations.'
Multnomah County Presiding Circuit Judge Charles S. Crookham announced the agreement Friday, ending the four-year-old action brought by Walton against Dr. Robert Cook and the Oregon City Orthopedic Clinic.
The suit, which had sought $5.6 million in damages, claimed the defendants were negligent in failing to diagnose and treat a fracture in Walton's foot suffered near the end of the 1977-78 NBA season.
'Part of the settlement agreement was that the parties will not discuss the terms of the settlement,' said John Bassett, a lawyer who helped represent Walton.
Known as the tarsal navicular, the injured foot bone is located between the ankle and toes on top of the 6-foot-11 former All-Star center's left foot toward the instep side.
After sitting out the 1978-79 season, Walton played briefly for San Diego before the sore foot forced him to abandon his career.
In papers filed with the court, Walton said he felt pain in his foot 'nearly every day from March 28 (1978) to April 22.' He also listed several occasions on which pain-killing drugs were administered by Cook.
Cook's answers to the complaints alleged that the injury was caused by Walton's own conduct 'in failing to follow the instructions of the defendant physicians and in failing to use proper care for his own welfare.'
An attorney for Cook also refused to comment on the settlement. When asked if Cook was pleased with the agreement, attorney Wayne Williamson, said, 'I can't even say anything about that.'
Walton, now attending law school at the Stanford University Law School, remained in San Diego, Calif., during the final settlement negotiations, Bassett said.
Walton, who led the Trail Blazers to the NBA championship in 1976-77, claimed he did not learn of the fracture until he consulted other doctors in July, 1978.
Walton had sought $5 million in general damages and $632,000 in special damages.