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NHL concussion lawsuits to be consolidated

Aug 20, 2014, 10:01 AM EDT

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Gary Bettman, Bill Daly AP

Tuesday marked another significant development for the concussion lawsuits filed by numerous former players against the NHL.

Three of the suits have been consolidated and assigned to a U.S. District Judge in Minnesota, per the Canadian Press. Minnesota was chosen due to its central location and proximity to Canada, where a number of the parties and witnesses live (the consolidation brings together more than 200 ex-players that originally filed in Minnesota, New York and Washington.)

The NHL has been hit with five different concussion lawsuits since November of 2013, when the first group of 10 ex-players filed in a federal court in Washington. The second was filed in April — one that included former NHLers Dan LaCouture, Dan Keczmer and Mike Peluso, but one that also lost credibility by claiming NHL legend Gordie Howe died in 2009 from a neurodegenerative disease called Pick’s disease.

(Howe is still alive. It was his wife, Colleen, who died of the disease.)

The third suit was also filed in April, in Minneapolis, by retired players Dave Christian, Reed Larson and William Bennett. Lawsuits No. 4 and No. 5 were filed this past summer and featured former Former Bruins d-man Jon Rohloff, ex-Columbus forward Dan Fritsche and former Ranger Chris Ferraro.

The consolidation order says all five suits may eventually be joined into one.

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