Four Former High-Profile Players Join Class Action Lawsuit Against NHL
The Law Firm of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White (STSW) in conjunction with Namanny, Byrne & Owens (NBO Law) have filed an Amended Class Action Complaint in the matter of Leeman, et al. v. National Hockey League, et al. (Civil Case No. 13-CV-1856-KBJ) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Four former National Hockey League players publicly joined the class-action lawsuit alleging the NHL failed to adequately respond to the serious health risks posed by concussions and other head injuries incurred while playing in league games. The new plaintiffs – three-time All-Star center Bernie Nicholls, former Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year” Bob Bourne, famed “enforcer” Scott Parker, and former All-Rookie defenseman Bruce Bell – join numerous other former NHL players in the lawsuit, originally filed on November 25, 2013.
Nicholls played a total of 1,245 games between 1981 and 1999 for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, and San Jose Sharks. An All-Star in 1984, 1989, and 1990, he is one of only five players to ever score at least 150 points in a season (along with Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, and Phil Esposito). He is also one of only eight players in the NHL to ever score at least 70 goals in a season – a feat that remains a team record for the Los Angeles Kings, for which Nicholls is the fifth all-time leading scorer.
Bob Bourne played the bulk of his 1,103 total games with the New York Islanders, where he won the Stanley Cup four consecutive times between 1980 and 1983 and is a member of the team Hall of Fame. In 1987, Bourne was named a “Sportsman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated, and, at the conclusion of the 1987-1988 season, he won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to him by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association for his dedication to the game and perseverance during an NHL career that began in 1974.
Also publicly joining the suit are Scott Parker, who won the Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche and was nicknamed “The Sheriff” for his reputation as a ruthless fighter, and Bruce Bell, an All-Rookie defenseman whose career was sadly cut short after a devastating body-check by Wendel Clark – perhaps Clark’s most infamous hit ever.
The four join nine other former players that have volunteered to be public representatives of a class led by former All-Star winger Gary Leeman in the case, Leeman v. Nat’l Hockey League, et al., which seeks treatment and compensation from the NHL for its alleged promotion of violent gameplay while actively concealing the health hazards associated with concussions and other head injuries. Many other former players have joined and continue to join the lawsuit but prefer to remain private from fear of reprisals by the league.
Mel Owens, a former 10-year NFL player and attorney from NBO Law based in Laguna Hills, California, who also represents many NHL players with their workers’ compensation claims, alleged that “the NHL knew the severity of repetitive head trauma to the players but chose to ignore and hide their devastating health consequences.” He also added, “These additional four publicly named plaintiffs have shown the courage to stand up for their former teammates who continue to join the lawsuit but choose to remain anonymous for fear of possible retaliation by the NHL.”
Read the Amended NHL Concussion Lawsuit