Former NHL players including All-Stars Bernie Nicholls and Gary Leeman have begun proceedings for compensation for concussion related injuries acquired during the game.
Judge Susan Nelson has confirmed the validity of these claims put forth by about 70 former NHL players in the lawsuit against the League claiming that they knowingly withheld information about the long term effect of concussions.
This is not the first lawsuit settlement case of its kind. A precedent was set by the NFL on July 7, 2014 when United States District Court granted preliminary approval of a settlement in a similar case. The proposed settlement will offer three benefits: medical exams for retirees, monetary awards for diagnosis of ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia and certain cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE diagnosed after death and finally, and initiatives related to football safety.
Lawsuit settlement cases such as this are designed, not to make anyone rich, but to allow them to live their lives with the conditions caused by negligence of their former employers. This lawsuit is expected to cost the league nearly one billion dollars.
The attorneys for the former players stated: “It is time for the NHL to be held accountable for deliberately ignoring and concealing the risks of repeated head impacts, and finally provide security and care to retired players whom the league has depended on for its success.”
The League replied: “While we would have hoped for a different result on this motion, we understand that the case is at a relatively early stage, and there will be ample opportunity for us to establish our defenses as the discovery process progresses.” They also argued for dismissal of part of the lawsuit because of the amount of time that has passed since many of the players suffered injuries.
The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified financial damages and medical monitoring for the myriad of neurological disorders that are common among both former NHL and former NFL players, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Their lawsuit will increase awareness of the dangers of concussion injuries and increase safety standards by the league, regardless of the lawsuit settlement payment.