A Widow’s Fight Against the NHL Faces Procedural Hurdle

Often, when lawsuits involve sports-related brain and head injuries (CTE), it’s easy to assume that the NFL is involved. However, concussion-related lawsuits are not solely confined to professional football.

In 2018, the NHL was engulfed in concussion litigation. Kelli Ewen, the widow of former NHL player, Todd Ewen, filed a lawsuit against the NHL in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In her complaint, Ewen alleges that the NHL promotes a culture of “violence and concealment of long-term brain injuries associated …

Continue Reading

NHL Trying to Eject Two Retired Players from Concussion Lawsuit

The National Hockey League is urging the Minnesota federal court to act now to remove two former players from the proposed class action. The NHL wants its bid for summary judgement for claims made by Gary Leeman and Bernie Nicholls to press on. The league argues the three-year statute of limitations bars these two players’ claims, who retired in the late 1990s. Both Leeman and Nicholls serve as class representatives of their respective classes. The NHL argues the move for summary judgement is appropriate now, …

Continue Reading

Power Play: Former NHL Players Shoot for Stay of Deadlines and Bellwethers in NHL Concussion Lawsuit

On May 5, 2017, former National Hockey League players currently engaged in the concussion lawsuit submitted a letter requesting a stay of all deadlines surrounding their bid for class certification. This letter was drafted per an instruction from U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, who ordered both parties to confer and simultaneously send letters outlining their positions.

In the letter, the players indicate it would be impracticable to be expected to depose the NHL’s 19 experts, oppose five expert motions in limine, obtain rebuttal …

Continue Reading

NHL Concussion Litigation Documents Ordered to be Made Public: Judge Unseals 28 Documents

A U.S. Federal Judge has unsealed certain documents in the long-running lawsuit over the National-Hockey League’s handling of concussions sustained by players, as the public benefit and need for the information outweighs any of the NHL’s interests in keeping the documents confidential.

The judge’s order required that one of the documents, an internal email regarding fighting and rules, to be kept confidential, because the league’s privacy interest in the notes and the prejudice that it would face if the notes were released outweighed the …

Continue Reading

NHL’s Proffered Expert in Concussion Litigation Attacks Dr. Bennet Omalu’s CTE Findings; Omalu Says No Room for Debate

The controversial discourse around high-contact sports and their potential link to permanent brain damage in professional athletes is coming to a head again. This time, it comes after the director of the Center for Neuropathology at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, Rudolph J. Castellani, told a federal court that neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu’s medical conclusions regarding the potential link were inaccurate.

Dr. Omalu, notoriously known for his research and findings on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition often found …

Continue Reading

Senator Presses NHL Commissioner for Answers on Concussions

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D – Connecticut) is pressing the National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman to come clean with answers regarding the NHL’s stance on concussions. Specifically, Senator Blumenthal chided Bettman over comments which he believed to be “dismissive” about the link between head trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the brain disease which made headlines during the National Football League concussion litigation in recent years.

While the NFL has admitted to a link between CTE and playing football, Bettman has made no such …

Continue Reading

Retired Players Urge Court to Continue Discovery in NHL Concussion Suit

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, former hockey players in the multidistrict litigation concussion suit filed a memorandum in opposition to the NHL’s motion to stay discovery. The league’s motion was filed in January, seeking a stay until its 2014 motion to dismiss is ruled on, arguing it has complied with all discovery requests and spent millions of dollars in what may potentially end up being extraneous spending if the suit is tossed.

Players are arguing that the NHL’s sudden attempt at halting discovery is …

Continue Reading

Sports Litigation and Cases to Keep an Eye on in the New Year (Part II)

Part one of our look ahead at some of hottest sports litigation topics focused on the Deflategate appeal and the battle in New Jersey over the legalization of sports betting. Today, we’ll look at the latest surrounding the NCAA anitrust litigation, concussion litigation in the NHL, and the FIFA corruption scandal.

NCAA Antitrust Litigation

The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in O’Bannon v. NCAA cleared the way for collegiate schools to offer student athletes the full cost of attending college, but also prevents schools from …

Continue Reading

NHL Concussion Litigation: 3 Plaintiffs Voluntarily Dismiss Claims

By Monday September 28, 2015, a total of 3 plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed themselves from the NHL concussion multi-district litigation, which commenced in 2013. These plaintiffs, all former NHL hockey players, were part of the lawsuit claiming that the league failed to protect its players from brain injury. Of late, the number of plaintiffs added to the original 10 plaintiffs grew by 29 former players in February 2015.

The 3 players who withdrew—Dan Fritsche, German Titov, and Bob Bourne—were targets in the NHL’s recent motion to …

Continue Reading