A federal judge in Minnesota has thrown out the NHL’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit that claims the body inadequately informed players of the health risks caused by concussions despite having ample knowledge and resources.
The plaintiffs are seeking a financial settlement for the “pathological and debilitating effects of brain injuries caused by concussive and sub-concussive impacts sustained … during their professional careers,” according to court documents.
The NHL argued that the case was pre-empted by the league’s collective bargaining agreement, which created a six-year statute of limitations on the case. They also argued additional jurisdiction claims. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson rejected those challenges.
“Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that they may not have been aware that they had suffered an injury — or the possibility of injury — while they were playing in the NHL,” she wrote in her judgement.
In response, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly released a statement reported by the Associated Press. “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,” he said
As implied in the statement, the ruling does not mean the players have won the lawsuit, but rather that they can move forward with the litigation.
The players suing the NHL are Dan Lacouture, Michael Peluso, Gary Leeman, Bernie Nicholls, David Christian and Reed Larsen.