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Lawyers take another look at Dorsey death

Five months have passed since the tragic death of freshman running back Keeley Dorsey, and time has only raised more questions than answers.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiners office is still investigating the exact cause of his sudden collapse while working out at the team facility on Jan 17.

Tammie Dorsey, Keeley’s mother, has consulted Tampa attorney Barry Cohen in a move to possibly consider litigation against USF.

“We’re going to be looking into what happened and see if there was any fault anywhere; if there is we’ll follow it, if there isn’t then we’ll acknowledge that,” Cohen said. “We’re just waiting for the (conclusion) of the investigation and see where the facts take us.”

At the time of Keeley’s death, investigators anticipated a standard four to six-week wait for the autopsy to reveal the events leading up to his death. But unexpected events have delayed the results, and the cause of death could take as long as another month, said a June 12 St. Petersburg Times article.

Cohen indicated his firm is not taking any action, just waiting for the results of the autopsy. There has been no indication that USF was at fault, as the athletic facility had the proper medical equipment used to help save Dorsey.

“I think (the wait) has been longer than usual, and there may have been some reasons for that (and they) are interesting,” Cohen said. “I think there are definitely some reasons why it has taken longer and that makes this matter interesting to me.”

Two lawsuits have been filed in Florida following the deaths of college football players. In 2004, Florida State University reached a $2 million settlement with the family of linebacker Devaughn Darling after he died of cardiac arrhythmia during an off-season workout in 2001.

In November, the University of Florida agreed to an out-of court settlement with the family of Eraste Autin after he also collapsed during a summer workout.

Cohen specializes in cases involving catastrophic injury or death, medical malpractice, product liability and civil and criminal fraud cases. His firm tries cases nationwide, but the Tampa-based group has taken a special interest in the Dorsey case.

In 2004, Cohen represented Jennifer Porter, the former Hillsborough County teacher who was involved in a hit-and-run case in which four children were struck by her car, resulting in two deaths. Porter was sentenced to three years of probation, two years of house arrest and 500 hours of community service.

The law firm of Cohen, Jayson & Foster has won verdicts and settlements valued at over $1 billion dollars.

The 19-year-old Dorsey passed his physical examination in the fall and did not appear to have any pre-existing medical conditions that would indicate any genetic defects.

“It’s a case where a young man died and right now we’re without any medical explanation,” Cohen said. “As a lawyer who’s been asked to examine it by the family, this is a case of interest to us. If there is liability in this case then we will pursue that.”