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Report: Concussion lawsuit grows to 200 players

Nov 27, 2013, 4:05 PM EDT

Gary Bettman; Bill Daly AP

From Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston:

The number of former NHL players involved a class-action concussion lawsuit against the league is growing at a rapid rate. Within 48 hours of the suit being filed in a Washington federal court, the original group of 10 plaintiffs had inflated to more than 200, according to one of the lawyers working on the case.

One of the players beyond the original group is former Islander Bob Bourne. Even more players are expected to sign up shortly.

A similar class-action suit brought against the NFL grew to thousands of former football players before it was settled in August.

That’s not to say the NHL will eventually settle this one out of court. The league said Monday it intends to defend the case “vigorously” and, yesterday, commissioner Gary Bettman called it “a lawsuit without merit.”

  1. ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    lol thanks for the link to sign up. I’m gonna put my name on there just for sh**s. hey, maybe I’ll get some dough outa this. too bad Morris Titanic is already on there because since I read his name the other day, the idea to use that as a fake name on something hasn’t left my head.

    • joey4id - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      Do you think this is the beginning of the end of fighting?

  2. joey4id - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Well! This is no big surprise. Let one sheep out and the herd will follow.

  3. charlieconway96 - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    “Gary Bettman, a commissioner without merit”.
    With how big the NFL concussion suit became, he might be wise to take this one seriously.

    • joey4id - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:02 PM

      NHL has been putting money aside for this law suit way before the NFL ex players filed their suit. We may not like the guy, but he just doubled each team’s revenue with the Rogers deal. He’s no dummy that’s for sure.

      • charlieconway96 - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:04 PM

        True, and I suppose a large part of the NFL case had to do with the league supposedly covering up evidence.

    • joey4id - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      Not only did NFL sweep evidence under the carpet, their concussion committee, which was led by a rheumatologist, published papers saying that it was ok for players (including college players) to return to play after a concussion. That there was no risk to them doing so.

  4. thomasvanek - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    All 200 old players: Ooo free money

    • joey4id - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      Do you think ex NFL players got free money from the NFL when they settled?

    • charlieconway96 - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      I wouldn’t necessarily call it “free” money.

  5. chiadam - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Other things with no merit: Bettman’s Southeast expansion.

  6. ripaslapper - Nov 27, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    The attorneys probably lit up like a Christmas tree after the multi-billion dollar Canadian TV deal was announced recently. Bettman’s head will be bobbling over this one.

  7. vbcaps - Nov 27, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    I believe the earlier comment about the nfl covering up evidence was a major reason why the settlement was huge

    Believe me or not but a good friend of mine’s dad is a doctor in California and in the early 90’s participated in a concussion study on behalf of the nfl and the group of doctors advised them on the long term damage, kinda cool when he told the story

  8. muckleflugga - Nov 27, 2013 at 9:33 PM


    at the core of competent legal advice is ability to assess merit, examining strength of a complaint against appropriate statute and the common law as it were. final determination on merit remains the privilege of judge or jury

    gary bettman and bill daly are blowing wind, that’s what they’re paid to do…

    the nhl cannot fully evaluate merit without examining evidence brought by each member of the class to the lawsuit; as stated, the class is growing hourly and there is potential for every nhl player to be added, retired or active

    retired players with concussion histories are of greatest threat to the nhl as the class broadens. these players have social history and living brains subject to medical examination under current science and technology. with advent of concussion lawsuits, scientific concussion study will become entrenched in common law as lawsuits are permitted to reach logical conclusions

    [ mediated settlements are desired for many reasons, not the least of which is preference for settlement outside the courts for leagues expecting to continue in hazardous enterprise as is the nfl and soon enough, the nhl ]

    so, how were the complainants injured and who bears responsibility for damages

    medical findings used in these proceedings would logically be held against the player’s appointed role while active in the nhl; generally speaking, hazard and risk experienced by skill players, grinders, hitters, fighters and pure enforcers entering a common field of play that nurtures and promotes violent contact and violent behaviour will be evaluated as contributing to injuries claimed

    so, who defines the nhl player’s role within context of safe execution of duties described above

    in all issues related to worker safety, it is the employer who determines a corporate safety policy; in this instance, teams operating under a body of rules directed by the nhl, itself comprised of member teams establishing and maintaing a safety program

    we know it is incumbent upon employers to both educate workers on safety hazard and risk in the workplace, and discipline workers for ignoring best safety practice. the education component is typically realized in either daily, weekly or monthly safety meetings; discipline for non compliance is continual

    and final responsibility for player health and safety falls to the worker’s immediate supervisor who, as intermediary between management and player in hockey, is the head coach and his staff

    behaviour of the head coach directing skill clinics, practices, in-game player deployment and line changes matching skill for skill will be examined in minutiae as these proceedings evolve before the court:

    teams and coaches directing a hard-hitting philosophy realized through in-game practice will be asked to prove their players were properly educated as to safe hitting practice and potential health consequences delivered through force, to themselves and to their opponents. this, while understanding players are every bit as responsible for safety of their fellow players as they are their own

    looking at the evolution of the body check from description in the rules through current use of hitting to administer bludgeoning as a device for intimidation will be damaging to the nhl’s defence

    of further interest will be league discipline used to control wrongful hits and excessive force, where variance in rulings is particularly damning –the argument a player must be injured for a foul to merit discipline beggars belief everywhere but in the nhl

    look no further than the ruling on the cowen elbow; it would appear a player is responsible for his stick and is called for accidental high sticks with presence of blood determining degree of penalty, but an accidental elbow to an opponent’s head causing concussion and lost time is just fine and dandy, no foul committed [ cue merle haggard’s rainbow stew ]

    the nhl will be asked to bring forth its schedule for discipline, penalty and measure to determine intent that is used to enforce rules and safe play [ cue hysterical laughing track ]

    teams and coaches building and using lineups cluttered with designated enforcers and those inclined to fight for sheer spectacle will be asked to prove their players were properly educated as to safe fighting practice, if there is such a thing, and, they’ll be asked to prove fighters were educated as to potential health consequences delivered through striking forces to the head through punching or falling to the ice; coaches demonstrating potential for concussion to their player’s brains and to an opponent’s brain had better be in ample evidence

    common sense will rule

    looking at the league’s overt support and promotion of fighting by coaches, teams, the league and by in-game officials, from the advent of televised coverage through the present, will be interesting. moore v. bertuzzi will play large as this class action drags on, book it

    explaining when and how the hhl determined fighting is an integral part of the game of hockey will be damning to its defence. hearing testimony from the likes of brian burke and john tortorella suggesting players might better police themselves, presumably through punching it up anytime some mythical code is broken, will be high comedy…

    timing in comedy is everything; commentary by managers and coaches promoting self-policing is damaging in and of itself, and because that belief has prevailed and thrived in the league since the late fifties, a period fully encompassing careers of the complainants

    before it’s said and done, look for the nhl to petition the court for mediation

    then, look for the court-appointed arbitrator to follow principles of workers’ compensation in determining awards, with each award determined on case by case merit…

    this while ordering the nhl and the nhlpa to incorporate an in-house system of workers’ compensation in future collective bargaining agreements

    look for team ownership to clean house

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