Tag Archives: NHL

NHL Wants Independent Medical Examination of Former Players

By Joseph M. Hanna, of Goldberg Segalla

In a Minnesota federal court on Monday, February 29, 2016, the National Hockey League filed a motion to compel the medical examinations of some of the former players in the concussion MDL suit currently sitting against the league. The NHL argues that in cases of this nature, i.e., those where a plaintiff makes a claim aboJoseph M. Hannaut his current and future mental and physical health, it is routine procedure for said plaintiff to undergo an independent examination. The league’s memo in support argues there exists good cause for a confirmation that the specific injuries plaintiffs claim they suffer from, such as neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, actually are present and were related to their hockey careers.

Specifically, the NHL is seeking the medical examinations of five of the named plaintiffs in the concussion suit, including former Buffalo Sabre Stephen Ludzik. Ludzik has filed for permission to represent a proposed class of ex-players who suffer from CTE and other brain diseases caused from repetitive head trauma while playing hockey.

The examinations the league is calling for may seem fairly grueling, as they would require the former players to undergo 12 to 14 hours of testing, including having blood work drawn and being subject to an MRI. Neurological, neuropsychological, and psychiatric examinations would also be conducted, according to the memo in support, as they are necessary to prove/disprove plaintiffs’ allegations. No timeframe is yet scheduled as to when the motion might be ruled on, but it is worth noting that over the last few months, both sides to the suit have continuously battled over a proposed moratorium on discovery while the league awaits a ruling on its 2014 motion to dismiss.

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Hockey Fighter Derek Boogaard Runs Aground on §301 of the LMRA in Concussion-Related Claim

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the February issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To see the full article, subscribe at http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

By Jon Heshka, Associate Dean of Law at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC  Canada

Derek Boogaard played in the National Hockey League from 2005 to 2010. Standing at 6’7” and weighing approximately 270 pounds, he was a prized pugilist. Over six seasons with the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers, Boogaard played in 277 regular season games, scoring three goals, participating in at least 66 fights and accruing 589 minutes in penalties. After five seasons with the Wild, his final contract was a four year $6.5 million deal contract with the Rangers.

His chosen craft, however, came with a cost. Boogaard’s complaint, filed by his surviving parents, listed the dozens of injuries he sustained while playing in the NHL, including concussions and sub-concussions, broken noses, torn shoulder tissues, facial lacerations, contusions, muscle strains, herniated disks, and teeth fractures.

The District Court noted that Boogaard was an “Enforcer/Fighter” who in the NHL fought at least 66 times often leaving him with painful injuries, which team physicians, dentists, trainers and staff treated using “copious amounts of prescription pain medications, sleeping pills and painkiller injections.”

Boogaard’s lawsuit claimed that he was provided copious amounts of prescription pain medications, sleeping pills, and painkiller injections by NHL teams’ physicians, dentists, trainers and staff. For example, during the 2008-09 season Boogaard sustained a tooth fracture, underwent nasal surgery and had shoulder surgery and was prescribed 1,021 pills from ten Minnesota Wild or San Jose Sharks teams’ physicians and dentists plus 150 Oxycodone — a Schedule II controlled substance because of its high potential for abuse — pills.

Boogaard died of an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers and alcohol on May 13, 2011. He was posthumously found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — the same neuro-degenerative disease at the core of the now settled nearly $1 billion class action lawsuit against the National Football League.

Boogaard’s parents filed suit against the National Hockey League, its Board of Governors and Commissioner Gary Bettman (collectively, “NHL”) alleging that the NHL negligently failed to prevent Boogaard from becoming addicted to opiods and sleeping pills, that the NHL breached its voluntarily undertaken duty to curb and monitor Boogaard’s drug addiction while he was enrolled in the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (“SABH Program”), that the NHL was negligent in failing to protect Boogaard from brain trauma during his career, and that the NHL breached its voluntarily undertaken duty to protect Boogaard’s health by failing to prevent … (for the full summary, visit http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/ to subscribe)

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Federal Judge Denies NHL’s Motion to Dismiss Concussion Suit

(Editor’s Note: Below is excerpt from the April Issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. For more, please subscribe to the newsletter.)

A federal judge from the Northern District of Minnesota denied the National Hockey League’s motion to dismiss a concussion injury lawsuit brought against the league by six former league players.

The plaintiffs, who seek to represent a class of living and deceased former NHL players who suffered concussions or repeated sub-concussive injuries while playing in the NHL, are Dan LaCouture, Michael Peluso, Gary Leeman, Bernie Nicholls, David Christian, and Reed Larson.

In filing their claim last year, the plaintiffs alleged that the NHL was responsible for “the pathological and debilitating effects of brain injuries caused by concussive and sub-concussive impacts sustained . . . during their professional careers.”

Critical to the plaintiffs’ claim was …

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