Blood on the ice after hockey injury

Concussion Lawsuit Filed Against the NHL

Class Action Lawsuit Leveled Against NHL Alleging Negligent Behavior

Photo courtesy of Thom Quine

In a cross-country collaboration, the Laguna Hills, California based law firm of Namanny, Byrne, and Owens is filing a class action lawsuit in conjunction with Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin, and White of Baltimore, Maryland. The class action lawsuit, which is being leveled against the National Hockey League (“NHL”) on behalf of former players, alleges that the NHL has failed to effectively respond to the head injuries sustained by players. The lawsuit contends that the NHL has behaved negligently and fraudulently in regards to the player sustained head trauma over the past decades.

In 2004 the NHL introduced a series of updates to the rule-set to encourage a faster, more exciting, and ultimately more marketable product. As a result, the number of violent in-game collisions and occurrence of head trauma have increased. When coupled with the NHL’s refusal to protect players by banning full-body checking or penalizing on-ice fist fights, the league has created a dangerous atmosphere for players. The complaint alleges that the NHL either ignores or consistently lags behind other hockey leagues in adopting protections for players in accordance with current medical knowledge of concussions. Instead, the NHL continues to glorify and empower players known as “enforcers”- players with the singular intention of injuring the opposing team.

There are a number of current and former players who recognize the violent culture that the NHL has been fostering. Rick Vaive, one of the former players and plaintiff in the lawsuit states, “many of the former NHL players are suffering from debilitating head injuries from their time in the league. Hopefully this lawsuit will shine a light on the problem and the players can get the help they deserve.”

Mel Owens, of Namanny, Byrne and Owens, is a former professional athlete, having competed in the National Football League (“NFL”) for 10 years. Owens is currently a disability attorney and one of the attorneys fighting on behalf of the former NHL players. “As a former professional athlete I can relate to the extreme physical duress that these players undergo. The least these NHL players deserve is a league willing to protect them and allow them to live without head trauma induced debilitations once their playing days are over.”

The lawsuit seeks to correct the violent course the NHL has embarked upon, while seeking compensation for players affected by years of negligent decision making.

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