The National Hockey League is currently being sued in two separate lawsuits by former players who allege that the league concealed the long-term effects of concussions and failed to adequately warn them of the same. On April 17, the NHL was sued again – this time by one of its insurers (TIG Insurance Co., a New Hampshire-based unit of Fairfax Financial Holdings, Ltd.), a company that hopes to limit or avoid its duty to defend the league in the existing cases and the new suits that are sure to follow.
The action is one for a declaratory judgment; in essence, the insurer is looking for a court to say that it has no duty to defend the league despite the fact that the league purchased liability coverage from TIG from 1989 to 2001. TIG is arguing that the coverage it owes the NHL is limited or precluded because the league failed to comply with the insurance policy’s conditions – namely, that coverage is not available for intentional wrongdoings or bodily injury that was “expected or intended.” Several other insurers were joined in the action so that the court can make a determination as to each company’s coverage obligations.
The NHL’s spokesman Frank Brown declined to comment on the insurers’ move when contacted by email.
The National Football League was similarly sued in a massive multi-district concussion litigation that involved over 4,500 former players who complained that the league failed to adequately warn and protect them from the long-term effects of repeated head injuries. Though the parties initially agreed to a $765 million settlement proposal back in August of last year, settlement talks are still ongoing due to Judge Anita Brody’s refusal to approve the deal.