SBD/April 11, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NHL Hit With Second Concussion Lawsuit From Former Players Alleging Negligence

LaCouture is one of nine players in the suit alleging negligence by the NHL
Nine former players have filed a lawsuit against the NHL claiming that the league "intentionally created, fostered and promoted a culture of extreme violence," according to Klein & Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. The suit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan, is the "latest in a growing string of challenges to the NHL." Similar to suits brought by retired NFLers, the complaint said that the NHL "failed to take adequate steps to warn the players of the dangers of the sport and deliberately promoted violence for profit." The complaint is "more graphic than other suits brought by former hockey players, highlighting the role of enforcers in the NHL." The plaintiffs in the suit are former NHLers Dan LaCouture, Dan Keczmer, Jack Carlson, Richard Brennan, Brad Maxwell, Michael Peluso, Tom Younghans, Allan Rourke and Scott Bailey. The case will be heard by Judge Shira Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan. Proving those allegations "could be as difficult as it has been for the retired NFL players" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/11). In N.Y., Pat Leonard noted this is the "second class action suit" against the NHL "in the past five months." The players allege "negligence on the league's part in not properly informing and protecting players from the risks of head trauma." Leonard: "Strangely, however, the lawsuit is rife with errors, including the erroneous assertion that NHL great Gordie Howe died in 2009 -- he's still alive -- and the misspelling of the greatest active player's name as 'Sydney Crosby' -- it's Sidney." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a statement said, "In short, we are completely satisfied with our record on Player Safety" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 4/10). TSN's Eric Macramalla wrote, "Like concussion lawsuits generally, this one faces challenges." The way the lawsuit itself was drafted "is a bit unusual." It makes reference "to movies, including Gladiator, Youngblood and Friday the 13th." This is "atypical" (TSN.ca, 4/10).
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