PITTSBURGH, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The Miami Dolphins are fighting a former player's workers' compensation claim in a case shadowed by the looming NFL lockout.
Kendall Newson suffered a knee injury in a 2005 pre-season game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and has been unable to find work, his lawyers told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Dolphins asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Lenihan in Pittsburgh last week to reject Newson's claim, arguing it should be decided by an arbitrator, not a workers' compensation judge.
Lawyers for Newson and the NFL Players Association say there is no precedent for a federal judge to halt a state workers' compensation case and cited the current contract dispute between the league and players.
"There is going to be a lockout of the players on March 3 because there is absolutely no chance" of a deal, said Adam Kaiser, an attorney for the union. "Arbitrations will be almost impossible to resolve," leaving Newson without recourse, he said.
Newson was not at the hearing and could not be reached.
If he gets Pennsylvania workers' compensation benefits, he would be entitled to $716 a week, plus medical expenses. The Dolphins want the case decided under less generous Florida law.