NHL Faces Off with a New Concussion Suit
This week the NHL was hit with another concussion-based lawsuit brought against it by nine former hockey players. The 109-page court filing accuses the league of negligence for failing to properly warn and protect players from the risks involved with repeated head trauma. In pertinent part the complaint reads, “[D]espite the fact that the NHL’s violent game design induces head trauma, including concussions, the NHL has failed and continues to fail to warn its players of the risks to their lives and the devastating and long-term negative health effects.”
The first concussion suit against the NHL was filed in November of 2013. The NHL Deputy Commissioner had this to say about the new court filing: “While, obviously this is a new lawsuit, it does not appear to differ substantively from the one already filed and pending in the District Court for the District of Columbia . . . . Our response will be similarly consistent. In short, we are completely satisfied with our record on Player Safety, including as it relates to head injuries and brain trauma. We do not believe the new Complaint provides any valid basis for liability or damages as against the National Hockey League and we intend to defend the case and others that may follow it vigorously.”
The league has attempted to reduce the players’ exposure to head-related injuries, and banned deliberate hits to head back in 2011. Whether or not this move will be considered “too little, too late” will undoubtedly come into play during the upcoming litigation.
Interestingly, the new court filing is full of typos, errors, and a wide variety of confusing pop culture references. For example, it lists hockey icon Gordie Howe as deceased (he isn’t) and misspells the name of current hockey superstar “Sydney” (i.e. Sidney) Crosby.
Based on the large number of proceedings that were filed against the NFL in a similar concussion-based lawsuit (which is still in the process of ratifying a multi—million dollar settlement deal), one can expect that these first two suits are just the beginning in a long line of court filings to come.