Former NHL Players Bringing Concussion Suit Ask Court to Unseal Concussion Class Certification Docs
Several former NHL players brought a concussion suit against the National Hockey League in 2013 based on allegations that they have all experienced long-term neurological issues as a direct result of concussions sustained while playing for the league; a suit precipitated by a settlement between the NFL and thousands of former players over similar allegations. The players claim the league neglected to provide adequate protection and information re concussion dangers and the possible repercussions. One of the players’ experts opined that the average NHL player sustains 1-3 blows to the head with the potential to cause permanent brain damage in every game, and that this was being conservative.
In December of 2016, the players initiated a class certification of players qualifying for medical monitoring and those who have been diagnosed with neurological issues, alleging they have each been injured by the league’s deliberate withholding of the long-term repercussions of head injuries. Just prior to this motion, the players urged a Minnesota federal court to unseal 27 documents to support the class certification bid in the consolidated concussion lawsuit. In opposition, the NHL has argued that these documents contain confidential and privileged information, which amounts to good cause to keep the documents sealed. The players’ response? The league has yet to provide any compelling reasons to do so, and the NHL’s insistence that only those documents on which the court actually relies in making its decision can be released is entirely misplaced.