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Read the Boogaard family’s lawsuit against the NHL

Jul 29, 2013, 2:49 PM EDT

derekboogaardgetty Getty Images

Back in May, the family of deceased NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the NHL.

As reported by the New York Times, the suit contended that the NHL was “responsible for the physical trauma and brain damage that Boogaard sustained during six seasons as one of the league’s top enforcers, and for the addiction to prescription painkillers that marked his final two years.”

Boogaard was 28 when he died on May 13, 2011. Reports indicated that he died from a toxic mixture of alcohol and oxycodone.

Via Travis Yost of Hockeybuzz and Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy, click here for the full lawsuit that was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.

Suffice to say, it contains some fairly serious allegations.

For example:




What comes of the lawsuit remains to be seen. Obviously, the NHL will have something to say in its defense.

If anything, Boogaard’s story should raise awareness about the dangers of highly addictive prescription painkillers.

  1. esracerx46 - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Being prescribed medication does not mean you need to take them. Also, on almost every drug I know of, it states “do not take with alcohol” somewhere. It also says do not operate machinery, meaning, don’t drive while on meds. Ultimately, it is up to you about what you put into your body, and what do you do while said things are in your body. Being prescribed all those medications means almost nothing. To an addict, their is a good chance he came up with excuses as to why he needed more meds. This lawsuit is not only sad because someone lost their life. But also, because the family is trying to replace a loved one with money. I’m sorry for your loss, but it money wont help.

    • polegojim - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Amen… this is today’s society… “It’s not my fault!!!’

      #18… is the biggest disgusting point of all – he abuses medication… but it’s their fault.

      And… where was THE FAMILY… during all of this??? Watching him play and cashing the checks he was sending them???

      Disgraceful is right.

    • mmcneels81 - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      Yes, the patient/user is ultimately responsible for what they put into their own body. Everyone knows mixing opioids with alcohol is a horrible idea. In that sense, it is fair to say Boogaard was responsible for his own death.

      However, it is plainly wrongheaded to absolve his physicians of any wrongdoing. Opioid painkillers are very very very dangerous. Tolerance is built up quickly, causing the patient to take more and more. If too much is taken for too long addiction and physical dependence are virtually guaranteed. Opioid dependence ruins lives. These are things all physicians know. The only responsible way to dispense these medications is to prescribe only as much as the patient needs over a short period of time and no more. With that in mind, if you take a closer look at those numbers the absurdity should be obvious! What human (aside from possibly Andre the Giant) really needs 150 — ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY!! — Oxycodone pills for only 16 days worth of discomfort? That is almost 10 pills a day. That is enough to kill most people. That is not normal. And for a ‘doctor’ to prescribe a man that much Oxy over barely two weeks time is irresponsible and probably criminally negligent. At that point death should be expected.

  2. twpguy1964 - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Family is a disgrace! They didnt care about his “Trauma” when he was getting punched in the face while they helped spend his checks! Only when he passed away, RIP big man, did they care. The cash flow ran out!

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:26 PM

      While I agree it’s a frivolous lawsuit, it’s wrong to automatically assume that the family is attempting to profit off the death of their son. Anyone who’s dealt with addiction knows that an addict will lie, cheat, and steal to get their hands on their drug of choice. No matter what friends, family, or work associates attempt to do. To just blindly accuse that the family didn’t care about Boogaard while he was playing bc they were somehow profiting from his career is a ridiculous assumption. Plenty of ppl are at fault here- the Rangers/Wild, his brother, the doctors/medical personnel, the family- but most of all it’s Boogaard himself. His life was on a slow downward spiral, and certain parties may not have done enough, but it is up to the addict to make the excruciating choice to accept the help offered to him. You cannot force someone to get treatment if their heart isn’t really in it. I’m sure his parents did not like seeing their son take a physical pounding on the ice, nor did they enjoy watching Boogaard slowly kill himself off of it. I think it’s wrong to label them as gold diggers, even if this lawsuit is absolutely ridiculous. Wrongful death lawsuits are commonplace in this country when someone dies. It’s a difficult situation for all involved parties.

      • mp1131211 - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:49 PM

        Frivolous?? Some might not agree, but its not frivolous. Its contending that drug dealers have responsibility for their addicts addictions. “Frivolous” is the guy that sued for millions because his pants came back from the dry cleaner stained or the lady that ruined it for all Americans by suing McDonalds for hot coffee burning her. This is NO WHERE EVEN CLOSE to frivolous.

  3. esracerx46 - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Why this lawsuit is able to be tried in Chicago is beyond me.

    • blackhawksdynasty - Jul 29, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      There are umpteen reasons why it’s known as Crook County….BS lawsuits included

  4. 950003cups - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    They won’t win. They may have to sue the team doctors separately.

  5. blackhawks2010 - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    How Convenient that the “family” has stepped forward with the lawsuit AFTER Derek is gone. Where where they before?
    Just another money grab scenario, very sad.

    • mnhockey24 - Jul 29, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      you cant sue for wrongful death before he dies and i do blame the doctors why would you give a guy you know has a problem more pills if my doctor gave me pain killers knowing i was in rehab for substence abuse he would lose his license and face criminal charges

      • dueman - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        Absolute nonsense!

      • mp1131211 - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        ^^ absolute ignorance!

  6. longcutskolvikes - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    RIP Boogie Man.

  7. whiskytango333 - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Bottomfeeders looking for that one last squeeze of the fruit. Disgusting.

  8. sunderlanding - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    I feel for the family after loosing one of it’s members, but sometimes people need to be acountable for their actions. If fighting is causing you serious problems maybe you should stop fighting. If that means you can’t play in the NHL anymore so be it. Most of us “regular folk” live perfectly happy lives outside the NHL.

  9. sheckyrimshot - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Your son ran a hockey fighting camp for 12-18 year olds with his brother, the same brother who gave him percosets and took him out for drinks the night he died. Think about it. The defense rests.

  10. rtroth2946 - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    So no one here thinks it was against professional ethics to prescribe a known addict more pills? People who are known addicts are not given pain meds, simply because it is known that they will abuse them.

    Boogaard was in the NHL substance abuse program prior. The Rangers, a team in which I am a fan of, knew this. They knew of his abuse issues, yet several doctors under the team’s employ knowingly gave an addict pain pills when there was no reason medically to do so, especially in light of his addiction.

    These are not bottom feeders, you all should read the multiple story set that the NYT has put out.

    Oh and anyone who hasn’t suffered PCS should frankly STFU because it is completely debilitating.

    • dueman - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:31 PM

      I’m a recovered addict, and I have to tell you that you have no f’n idea what you are talking about! Doctor’s cannot deny someone pain killers just because they went through a program! If a person has reasons to need pain killers they will be prescribed. Boogaard had reasons. What the parents are trying to blame on the NHL is not the NHL’s fault. Boogaard was seeing multiple Doctors all over two different countries, which made it impossible to keep track of his prescriptions. Believe me, addicts can be very sly! I’m sure his parents would love to blame someone else for their child’s misfortune, but at the end of the day Boogaard is the only person that is truly responsible for what happened! Nobody made him become an enforcer in the NHL. Nobody made him become an addict. Nobody made him see multiple Doctors, and finally NOBODY MADE HIM DRINK ALCOHOL WITH HIS PILLS! I feel bad that this happened, but his parents are obviously looking for a payday that I’m sure that they will not get. The man made some bad choices and paid for them with his life, but they were his choices, and his alone!

      • polegojim - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:11 PM

        Exactly dueman… if someone knows how to get the pills, fully understands the process, picks up the prescriptions or accepts the meds KNOWING exactly what they’re used for, then pours the glass of water, puts the pills… and SWALLOWS… then pops the top on a beer or pours the shot… it’s THEIR deal, period.

        Seriously 2946… and you wonder why today’s society is filled with negatively enabled and disfunctional individuals??? They’re not held responsible for their own choices. Ridiculous.

      • blackhawksdynasty - Jul 29, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        As you should know, we are recovering – never recovered…..otherwise, spot on, my friend.

        RIP Boogieman.

        And from one recovering addict to another….congrats and keep it up!

  11. 2qswing - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Ok according to rtroth if you have not had a concussion you are not permitted to express an opinion on this matter. The great all-knowing rt roth has spoken. Only concussed people suffering PCS may comment…got it? ….arrogant a$$

  12. orangandblack - Jul 29, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    With all do respect, because we are talking about a terrible situation that lead to his premature death, but #19 is the most absurd thing I’ve ever read. Sueing the NHL for failure to discipline him after his last relapse??? Where were you guys (his family)?!?!?! Step up and help him while he’s alive, instead or waiting until he’s dead to make this a winning situation for yourselves.

  13. hockeyflow33 - Jul 29, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Garbage suit. What a disservice to a person, who by all accounts, was a great guy.

  14. jacketsfan7 - Jul 29, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    I miss the boogeyman

  15. sampulls - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    It’s always someone else’s fault!!!!

  16. redwingshockey23 - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    just a very sad situation. its hard for someone whi becomes dependent on prescription drugs to stop taking them.

  17. joey4id - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Legal experts here attacking the family should read the full lawsuit and educate yourselves about CTE. Then ask yourself the following; did the NHL do everything it could to prevent players from developing CTE? In other words, did the NHL board have the proper standards in place to diagnose and treat concussed players?

  18. slysipops - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    STUPIDITY ON BOTH SIDES OF THE COIN………….i would say . in this day of the computerized control of everything….wouldn’t a flag get tripped at the pharmacies he dealt with ? if he was on a insurance drug plan, they also would have not allowed so many drugs administered ! the guy would not have made it in the NHL as a 4th line forward or defencemen so fighting was his ticket. maybe another type of employment was what he should have concentrated on ? as said ,the booze did not make anything any better ! so many people in this day’s society have to use some type of crutch or another…..and then when the poop hits the fan …IT’S NOT MY FAULT….HELP ME !! what a society of weaklings !

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