The UCF Athletics Association has filed a motion for an appeal of the verdict in the Ereck Plancher wrongful death trial.

The goal of the appeal is to reverse the charge of negligence in Plancher’s death, according to the 42-page motion that was electronically filed on July 11.

The jury gave its verdict on June 30 in the case of Plancher, a wide receiver who died shortly after collapsing during an offseason conditioning drill on March 18, 2008.

They awarded his parents, Enock and Gisele, $10 million.

According to the motion, “The verdict is against the manifest weight of the evidence. It is also excessive.”

In a motion for judgment in accordance with motions for directed verdict, the appeal, filed by insurance company attorneys representing UCFAA, states that the jury could not have lawfully rendered a verdict based on the evidence presented. The section states that the claims made by a few of the plaintiff’s witnesses, including three former players, that water and athletic trainers were removed from the Nicholson Fieldhouse were disputed by testimony from some of the defendant’s witnesses, including coach George O’Leary, two former players and a student trainer.

The section also states that fibromuscular dysplasia of the sinoatrial nodal artery was an “equally plausible cause of death.”

The medical examiner for the case, Joshua Stephany, testified the cause of death was dysrhythmia due to acute exertional rhabdomyolysis with sickle cell trait. The plaintiffs argued that Plancher’s death could have been prevented had he been aware of the trait and had UCFAA followed the proper procedures.

When the medical examiner’s office in Central Florida released its autopsy report on July 17, 2008, UCF Athletic Director Keith Tribble released a statement regarding the report.

“Our staff advised Ereck of his sickle cell trait and monitored his physical condition at every practice and workout,” Tribble said in the statement he had released on the school’s website.

UCF spokesperson Grant Heston said the school planned to file an appeal shortly after the jury gave its verdict.

“We feel justice was not served today completely and that the wrong decision was reached,” Heston said following the announcement of the verdict. “Rulings made during the trial and before the trial had really prevented the jury from being able to reach a full and just decision.”

Heston said that the university believes a fair appeal will result in the jury’s decision being overturned.

“It’s shameful,” Plancher family attorney Steve Yerrid said.

Yerrid said he has no doubt that things will work out in the favor of the Plancher family, despite UCFAA’s appeal.

The appeal also calls for a significant decrease in how much the Plancher parents can be awarded in the case.

The appeal states, “The verdict amount should be remitted to an amount not to exceed $500,000.00 to $1,000,000.00 per surviving parent, which should then subsequently be remitted to a reasonable total amount not to exceed $200,000.00, consistent with the provisions of Fla. Stat. Sec. 768.26, which provides sovereign immunity protection, including a recovery limit in tort actions, to UCFAA as an agency or subdivision of the state.”