McCann Analyzes Leeman v. NHL

Michael McCann, a good friend of Hackney Publications and the founding director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, wrote a superb piece yesterday on Leeman v. NHL, “the newest sports concussion lawsuit,” for

McCann sets the table by writing that: “The legal fallout of concussions in sports took a major turn this evening, as 10 retired NHL players sued the league in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for failing to protect them from concussions. The plaintiffs, led by former All-Star Gary Leeman, seek for the court to certify their class. A certified class would make Leeman v. NHL very threatening, as it would allow these 10 players to sue on behalf of thousands of other retired NHL players. If successful in a trial, a certified class could obtain massive damages, perhaps in excess of a billion dollars.”hockey

He goes on to highlight four possible defenses, including:

  • Blame the NHLPA
  • Outdated and non-legal arguments
  • Uncertain causation
  • Assumption of risk

In his concluding paragraph, he assesses the possibility of a settlement.

“NHL lawyers probably feel confident they will convince a judge to dismiss Leeman v. NHL,” he writes. ”Some NHL owners, however, will probably prefer a more risk-averse strategy and will encourage settlement talks. A settlement could take on the features of the NFL’s concessions: improved benefits for retired NHL players and funding for research to make the sport safer. Don’t expect settlement talks anytime soon. The NHL concussion litigation has just begun and will probably take months, if not years, before there is any resolution.”

A good read, here is the link:

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