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NHLPA seeking dismissal of Boogaard family lawsuit

Dec 5, 2012, 3:15 PM EDT

derekboogaardgetty Getty Images

The NHLPA is arguing in California court that a lawsuit filed by the family of late NHL player Derek Boogaard should be dismissed.

The lawsuit in question claims that the players’ association failed to help Boogaard’s family recover his remaining NHL salary via grievance after the enforcer died from a mixture of drugs and alcohol in May of 2011.

But the NHLPA, according to the Ottawa Citizen, believes the statute of limitations for any claim against the union has expired. In addition, the union says it advised the family there was no legal basis to file a grievance.

Boogaard’s four-year, $6.5 million contract with the New York Rangers ran from 2010-11 through 2013-14.

  1. phreakin - Dec 5, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Wait, so they sued to get the rest of his contract after he killed himself? Ya, not money grubbing at all…

    • lordfletcher - Dec 5, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      Have you read the lawsuit, or just talking out of your butt?

      With wordage such as “money grubbing”, I’d gamble that you know little of the process to why Boogaard’s family took action against the NHLPA.

      • phreakin - Dec 6, 2012 at 5:16 PM

        I know exactly what’s happening. And the point still stands. The guy killed himself, his family doesn’t deserve anything from it, especially a huge financial windfall.

  2. fortwaynekomets - Dec 5, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    I think this is just sad. Give the guys family his money he is owed. It’s just another twist in the crooked world of Hockey business. I also wouldn’t get your hopes up about hockey starting soon. I don’t mean to be negative, just a realist. we’ve been slapped, drugged, and run over by the league, then spit on by Bettman. don’t ever forget this, fans. I also have helped other through this time of shame, so ill share a lil secret of the best place to watch hockey (College, CHL, ECHL, etc.) its all on America One Sports online. Best thing ever during a NHL lockout!!!

    • rsl22 - Dec 5, 2012 at 5:48 PM

      “money he is owed.”

      1) He killed himself. As big of a d-bag as I might sound for saying this, it’s true. When I read, “[h]e died in his sleep after ingesting a lethal mix of drugs and alcohol,” I do not think crooked world of hockey business and blame other people. Dude had a problem; it sucks for his family, but blaming others doesn’t change that.

      2) The statute of limitations is not a matter for debate. It’s a rule set through years of precedent and legislative acts to promote public policy. If you got in a car accident in 2007 that you believed was long done with, would you want someone attacking you with a negligence claim five years later? If you enjoy your rights under that policy, there’s no reason to attack another for asserting his/her same rights.

      3) As with any contract, if you die, your right to collect on that contract ends, so says the law:

      R.2d of Contracts § 261. Discharge By Supervening Impracticability
      Where, after a contract is made, a party’s performance is made impracticable without his fault by the occurrence of an event the non-occurrence of which was a basic assumption on which the contract was made, his duty to render that performance is discharged, unless the language or the circumstances indicate the contrary.

      Obviously, the language of their contract did not indicate anything to the contrary, and in case you were wondering, § 262 says the non-occurrence of death is a basic assumption of a contract.

      • lordfletcher - Dec 5, 2012 at 7:42 PM


        I am guessing you are still in school and haven’t read the families reasoning for filing suit. If you had, you wouldn’t have wasted your time with that worthless statute ramble from 7th grade and prevented yourself from looking like a fool.

      • atteckus - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:22 AM

        Being an actual lawyer, and not merely playing one, I can tell you that you are way off base. The Restatement of Contracts is not controlling here, because the parties have a “collective bargaining agreement,” as well as a “contract for services” that controls.

        Secondly, the provisions from the Restatement you cite discuss whether one is discharged from making a performance because of intervening events (sometimes referred to as commercial frustration). It does not discuss whether the obligor remains obligated to pay, even if the obligee does not perform.

        I do not profess to know the facts of this case. If the contract was guaranteed, the team would owe the salary to the contract’s end date, even if he died in the middle of the term. He may have rendered a partial performance and be due a partial year’s salary for all I know. The family seems to argue that the contracts say a grievance is the proper procedure for raising such a claim. The union claims otherwise. A judge will actually READ the contract and come up with the proper answer.

      • rsl22 - Dec 6, 2012 at 3:29 AM

        lordfletcher, do you know what a statute of limitations is? Quick! Wikipedia! If you did, you wouldn’t say it’s a waste of time. It’s a valid defense.

        As to this extra garbage: the contract covered injuries, but it explicitly terminated on death. In regard to collective bargaining provisions you speak of, the family was paid life insurance benefits as per the terms of the agreement; but they were not entitled to collect any sort of lost wages after death.

        Their argument is now that the team and their doctors were negligent and caused his death. Because they caused the death, they should have to pay, and not just his contract, which is $4.8MM, but also $5MM extra in punitive damages.

        Is the restatement controlling? No, but it provides a pretty good indicator of where the court would look to resolve an ambiguity in the contract if it was just about death.

        This isn’t just about death though, as the family is trying to piggy-back on the demise of Conrad Murray to collect whatever it can. (see, e.g., Canadian family, whose son lived and died in Minnesota, and worked in New York, and NY being the home to the NHLPA, somehow deciding to file their case in California.)

        Last two things: did you really think the league, even one as retarded as the NHL, wouldn’t have a standard provision that stated the employment contract was terminated on death as is the case with every employment contract? And, it’s laughable you would write, “a judge will READ the contact.” A judge, not a clerk, will read that motion to dismiss just as soon as you turn into a fantastic lawyer.

      • thedavesiknowiknow - Dec 6, 2012 at 4:37 AM

        atteckus- I didn’t know garbage could talk.

      • lordfletcher - Dec 6, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        Have you read the lawsuit. Do you know why they are suing the NHLPA and attacking the Rangers????!!!! It’s not because they want the remainder of his contract because Boogaard died, it’s a fictitious amount that they feel they are owed due to the way the Rangers may or may not have handled certain issues pertaining to his eventual death…. Your point is 100% invalid along with the NHLPA ‘if’ the judge feels as if the organization mishandled pharmaceutical sales and then the statute claim will be thrown out as it will not be deemed relevant.


      • atteckus - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        Lordfletcher –

        No, I haven’t read the lawsuit, just the article above and the comments. That said, you’re off the mark here. You are commenting on the “merits” of the suit and the basis of the claim. The court is not at that stage yet.

        This is a motion to dismiss. The issue before the court is procedural, not substantive. Is it a proper procedure to press these claims through the union grievance process or not? That is the only question now before the court. If it is the proper process, then the motion to dismiss will be denied. Then the court will move on to consider the merits of the family’s claims. If its not the proper procedure, the case will be dismissed and the merits of the claim will never be considered, simply because the family has “sued the wrong party,” who may have had no duty to press the claim on their behalf. None of us are in proper position to predict what the outcome of this situation should be, and that is why I have not posited who will or should win. Nor should you.

      • atteckus - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:49 PM


        You just proved it.

      • atteckus - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        rsl –

        You are correct that the statute of limitations is “potentially” a valid defense. The statute of limitations is not absolute, and can be a very tricky matter to have enforced. There are exceptions that can be applied to when the timeframe in the statute starts to actually run. Any misleading action by the defendant could be cause for the court to find that the statute didn’t start to run until the plaintiff was in a position to know that they should file suit. It has to be properly invoked by the defendant from the very outset of the case, or it can be waived. Unless the suit is filed well beyond the applicable timeframe, its usually better to use a different route to obtain dismissal. That said, this certainly could be a valid defense here. I don’t know the applicable statute, timeframe involved or the factual actions of the parties.

        Given that Boogs died in 2011, and that we are just in 2012, I find it hard to believe (on general principle) that the family has already “waited too long” to file its suit. Yes, there could be a short statute, like 1 year or 180 days, but those are very uncommon. Its usually at least 2 to 3 years before claims become precluded by the limitation statute. And there could be a legitimate argument about which statute of limitation is applicable. The union may be arguing for a short period applicable to labor disputes, and the family might say, no, its the longer statute applicable to contracts. The judge will have to sort that out.

      • lordfletcher - Dec 6, 2012 at 5:03 PM


        my direction of communication wasn’t towards you….

        as for everything else. I need not to reply

  3. mnhockey24 - Dec 5, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    boogy will always be a member of the team of 18,000 rip big man we miss you

  4. fortwaynekomets - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    rsl22 is way off the mark here, for sure.

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