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Vaive asks to be removed from NHL concussion lawsuit, has ‘no interest in suing’

Nov 28, 2013, 5:51 PM EDT

Calgary Flames V Toronto Maple Leafs Getty Images

One of the former NHL players suing the league over concussions now wants out.

Rick Vaive, the former Maple Leaf and arguably the most noteworthy of the original 10 (see list here), wants his lawyer to remove his name from the suit, according to the Canadian Press:

Vaive’s lawyer Trevor Whiffen claims the former 50-goal man wasn’t provided with a copy of the claim beforehand and that he would not have agreed to the allegations made against the NHL had he been asked to review its contents.

“Mr. Vaive misunderstood the nature of the proceeding being brought, and believed this claim was similar to the worker’s compensation claim being advanced in California on behalf of several former NHL players,” Whiffen said in a statement Thursday.

“Rick has no interest in suing the National Hockey League and has advised that he will not be pursuing the claim in Washington. He has therefore instructed me to take the necessary steps required in order to remove his name from the lawsuit.”

Led by lawyer Mel Owens — an ex-NFL player — the lawsuit has gained steam over the last week. Former Islanders forward Bob Bourne recently added his name, and a report that surfaced on Wednesday claimed the list of plaintiffs has grown to over 200.

The 10 original ex-players on the suit were Vaive, Gary Leeman, Brad Aitken, Darren Banks, Curt Bennett, Richard Dunn, Warren Holmes, Bob Manno, Blair Stewart and Morris Titanic.

The lawsuit comes mere months after the NFL settled a lawsuit brought by thousands of former players over brain injuries suffered during their playing careers. That settlement was worth $765 million.

The NHL said Monday it intends to defend the case “vigorously,” while commissioner Gary Bettman called it “a lawsuit without merit.”

  1. 950003cups - Nov 28, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    The NHL threatened to let Shanahan kick his butt again. That’s the best story ever told. Lol

  2. muckleflugga - Nov 28, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    this tells me vaive has found an alternative means of redress, possibly getting wind of another lawsuit similar to the California based effort, itself tied to resolution employing wcb compensation methodology…

    again, the wcb precludes ability for an employer to counter sue, though i can’t imagine the nhl going that route in any lawsuit. individuals other than players duly maligned in a court action may have other ideas however; moore v. bertuzzi has branched into bertuzzi v. crawford for instance

    problematic for using wcb frameworks for a means of reaching toward settlement is large variance of benefit in its systems from state to state and province to province, a variance controlled by political policy and will standing in the day

    and, the player would need to file such a claim in the state or province where the team with which he played and was injured conducts business; in vaive’s case, his productive years and first signs of decline were in toronto

    as i recall, the ontario wcb is progressive and worker friendly

    in counter, the wcb in alberta was dismantled and subject to political interference and internal corruption in its appeal process during the nineties; judicial review found independent appeals boards to be consistently favouring the employer’s case with findings made and held before the hearings actually occurred

    and, the alberta wcb abolished pensions tied to reduced earning capacity arising from residual disability, placing onus on employers to accommodate injured workers, a formula fraught with its own forms of corruption; control of worker disability has been moved to his private sector employer, and beyond reach of legislated protection

    alberta has been governed by conservatives for over a half century, be that as it may

    one might expect the complainant’s primary intent is to recover lost earnings capacity while playing, and in what would have been productive earnings years when careers ended. pensionable status is critical, so injured players would need to rely on a wcb system sustaining disability pensions

    the california suit is less aggressive, seeking resolution composed of compensatory damages using the state driven wcb model, itself free of potential for a massive punitive damage award

    of equal importance to these injured players is choice of legal forum. to have a class action certified, lawyers need to find a jurisdiction friendly to class action suits; it is extremely difficult to register a class action in alberta, particularly if that action calls any government department or big business entity to answer

    what this means for injured players looking to launch a class action suit with proposed redress fashioned after principles of workers’ compensation is, they need a state or province with both a worker friendly wcb and courts friendly to class action

    attempting to file a class action lawsuit in states and provinces with majority republican or conservative governments will be a waste of time, short of bringing conclusive and irrefutable evidence to the forum

    so why would a class action suit be launched by injured nhl players in washington

    in any industry whose business takes it across state or provincial lines, that industry is bound by federal statutes and labour law…the nhl crosses state, provincial and national borders, and is governed through federal legislation and the courts accordingly

    the washington lawsuit permits complainants who played in outlying states and countries, to join the broader class. and, the washington lawsuit is a tactical move to have the class action played under the noses of the lawmakers themselves, in a forum where government and media scrutiny will be greatest

    in washington, potential for embarrassment to the nhl and its policies regarding worker safety are profound…

    of greater concern to the nhl is potential for the court to award both compensatory and heavy punitive damages, equally profound

    • dueman - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:33 AM

      Or just maybe, “Rick has no interest in suing the National Hockey League”….

  3. muckleflugga - Nov 29, 2013 at 4:19 AM


    your response is trite, and offers an incomplete quote

    the quote reads:

    “Rick has no interest in suing the National Hockey League and has advised that he will not be pursuing the claim in Washington…”.

    my summary speaks to possibilities wherein mr. vaive might find another jurisdiction within which to find redress for his injuries

    while vaive is not pursuing his claim in washington, he may well be looking elsewhere, ontario for instance

  4. michael91148 - Nov 30, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    Or just maybe, “Rick has no interest in suing the National Hockey League and has advised that he will not be pursuing the claim in Washington…”.

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