NHL Players Say Head Injury Claims Should Not be Thrown Out


A group of ex National Hockey League (NHL) players are asking a federal judge in Minnesota not to toss their presumptive class action over head injuries.  The former professional hockey players are asking judge Susan R. Nelson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota to reject a motion to dismiss by the National Hockey League.


The players allege that the NHL did not disclose evidence to the players of the dangers and long-term health consequences of repetitive head injuries sustained during practices and games, and argue that their claims should not be statutorily denied because many of the claims involve recently developed health issues.    According to the players’ pleadings, “in asserting that the plaintiffs’ claims are time-barred, the NHL misconstrues the nature of the pleaded injuries.  Those injuries are not discrete head-blows in particular games, but rather are the increased risk and delayed development of permanent degenerative brain diseases resulting from repeated head traumas experienced while playing in the NHL.”  The players are now also alleging fraud, claiming that the league had better information about the state of the medical research and long-term health consequences of repetitive head injuries, but deliberately failed to disclose that information to the players.


Per the defendants, “Plaintiffs’ expressly pled that they had no knowledge of the medical literature and no understanding of any need to go find it because they relied on the NHL for information about player health and safety.”  However, the league argued in its motion to dismiss, that the ex-players had failed to sufficiently plead those fraud claims in the original complaint.


As in similar NFL cases, the players are asking the league to “step up” as the NFL did, and compensate the players accordingly.  As in this case, if you have a question about sports or sports law, or you are a professional athlete seeking representation, you need experienced legal counsel.  With more than 35 years of experience representing professional athletes, individuals and businesses in the areas of sports law and business litigation, James J. “Jim” Thomas II is recognized as an expert across Georgia.  If you or your business needs assistance in sports law, business ventures, handling complex business litigation, or in the analysis, evaluation, and resolution of existing and potential litigation in sports law cases, give Jim a call at 404-869-5248 or visit www.litigationatlanta.com online.


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