Darren Sharper takes legal aim at Saints from jail

From his California jail cell, former Saints player Darren Sharper took legal aim at the Saints for a previously denied workers compensation claim.

"This is a very unusual situation," said Sharper's attorney, Frank Bruno.

Bruno is trying to overturn a judge's ruling that Sharper waited too long to file an injury claim.

"Although Mr. Sharper's claim was filed over a year from his injury. It wasn't over a year from the payment of his last benefit," Bruno said.

Bruno argued before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that while Sharper was injured during a home game in November 2009, the Saints continued to pay him his salary in lieu of workers compensation until November of 2011.

The lawsuit was filed against the Saints in December of 2011.

"Sharper's attorney was trying to say the time clock didn't start running until he was paid out on his contract. The Saints are saying that he was paid a salary, not wages in lieu of compensation, but so that he could fully perform his job in that time period. Therefore, the clock should start running from November 2009," said attorney and former sports agent Doug Sunseri.

The Louisiana Workers Compensation Act requires personal injury claims for payment to be filed within one year of the injury.

"We have to consider the contracts and we have to consider the CBA in this situation, and that's what we're doing," Bruno said.

"This will affect cases in the future, but for the practicality of the fans, it makes no difference," Sunseri said.

Sunseri said the Saints deal with a handful of compensation lawsuits every year, mostly involving free agents.

Darren Sharper is facing his own legal troubles as he remains locked up on drug and rape charges in Los Angeles and Arizona. He's facing similar charges in New Orleans and Las Vegas.

His attorney insists that the lawsuit, which is said to be worth about $95,000, isn't a ploy by Sharper to get money for his criminal defense.

"It's not the case. Under Louisiana law, if a person is incarcerated, he cannot get compensation unless he has dependents. Mr. Sharper has two children, so if gets any compensation, it will go right to his children," Bruno said.

The 4th Circuit appellate judges are expected to render their decision in the next couple of weeks.

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