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Corboy & Demetrio Client Added to NHL Concussion Litigation

The Multidistrict Litigation Plaintiff’s Executive Committee recently added more players to the class action lawsuit filed on behalf of former and deceased professional hockey players against the NHL stemming from concussive injuries.

Retired NHL New York Islander and Boston Bruin Dennis Vaske, one of our clients at Corboy & Demetrio, was one of those players added to the litigation.  Thomas Demetrio and I are members of the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee and also represent the Estates of Derek Boogaard and Steve Montador.

Here’s the entirety of the news release the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee released about the most recent addition to the NHL concussion litigation:

For Immediate Release: September 14, 2015

Contact: Plaintiffs Committee for NHL Concussion Litigation 202-777-3562

Concussion Lawsuit Against NHL Swells As More Retired Players File Complaint Against League

Minneapolis, MN — Eight retired NHL hockey players have alleged in a new complaint filed today in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota that, the National Hockey League (NHL) has, for decades, actively concealed the debilitating effects of repeated blows to the head, while encouraging players to engage in extreme violence in the ice.

The new complaint details how, for decades, scientific evidence has consistently linked repetitive head impacts to long-term neurological problems.  As a result, these eight plaintiffs allege that they, and their fellow former teammates, face an increased risk of developing serious neurodegenerative disorders and diseases, such as CTE, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or similar cognitive-impairing conditions. They join dozens of other retired NHL players in a pending class-action that seeks to hold the League accountable for failing to warn them about the devastating effects of these repeated head injuries.  

To this day, rather than warning NHL players, and players of all ages, of the risk of repeated concussions, the NHL and commissioner Gary Bettman have repeatedly denied there is any connection between repeated concussions and a risk of neurological issues.  Even as the entire medical community and even other sports leagues like the NFL have acknowledged the risks, the NHL to this day refuses to acknowledge the connection between head trauma and severe brain and neuro-cognitive conditions. 

The eight retired NHL players who have joined the NHL concussion lawsuit include:

  • Michel Petit: Mr. Petit, a first-round draft pick and the eleventh pick overall in the 1982 draft, played in the NHL from 1982 through 1999. Specifically, Mr. Petit played from 1982-1987 for the Vancouver Canucks; from 1987-1989 for the New York Rangers; from 1989-1990 for the Quebec Nordiques; from 1990-1991 for the Toronto Maple Leafs; from 1991-1994 for the Calgary Flames; from 1994-1995 the Los Angeles Kings; from 1995-1996 for the Tampa Bay Lightning; in 1996 for the Edmonton Oilers; in 1996 for the Philadelphia Flyers; and in 1997-1998 for the Phoenix Coyotes and its affiliates. Mr. Petit played in 827 NHL games as a defenseman.
  • Steve Payne: Mr. Payne played in the NHL from 1978 through 1988. Mr. Payne played his entire NHL career and 613 games for the Minnesota North Stars. Mr. Payne was a second-round draft pick (19th overall) for the Minnesota North Stars.
  • Kurt Walker: Mr. Walker played right wing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their affiliates from 1975-1978. Mr. Walker played 71 regular season games in the NHL.
  • Malcolm Davis: Mr. Davis played right wing for the Detroit Red Wings from 1978 to 1981, and the Buffalo Sabres from 1982 to 1986. He played a total of 100 games in the NHL.
  • Gary McAdam: Mr. McAdam played left wing in the NHL from 1975-1986. He played for the Buffalo Sabres from 1975-1978 and again from 1982-1983; from 1978-1980 for the Pittsburgh Penguins; from 1980-1981 for the Detroit Red Wings; from 1981-1982 for the Calgary Flames; in 1983 for the Washington Capitals; from 1983-1985 for the New Jersey Devils; and from 1985-1986 for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mr. McAdam played 524 regular season games in the NHL.
  • Greg Terrion: Mr. Terrion played for the Los Angeles Kings from 1980-1982 and the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1982-1988. He played in 561 NHL games.
  • Keith Brown: Mr. Brown, a first-round draft pick and the seventh pick overall in the 1979 NHL entry draft, played in the NHL from 1979 through 1995. Specifically, Mr. Brown played from 1997-1993 for the Chicago Blackhawks and from 1993 through 1995 for the Florida Panthers. Mr. Brown played in over 700 NHL games as a defenseman.
  • Dennis Vaske: Mr. Vaske played in the NHL from 1986 through 1999 with the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins. Specifically, Mr. Vaske participated in 235 regular season games.

“Playing in the NHL in the '90s was a great thrill, but I never imagined the lifelong impact it would have on me,” said Vaske. “Twenty years later, I'm paying the price – poor concentration, limited short-term memory, sensitivity to light, fogginess, irritability and, sometimes, depression are a severe price to pay.  It is my desire that the NHL is held accountable to me, and others like me.”

The Court overseeing the ongoing federal litigation against the NHL denied the League’s motion to dismiss the case on March 25, 2015. Since that time, the Multidistrict Litigation plaintiffs have pursued extensive discovery of the NHL, including document production and deposition testimony. The retired player plaintiffs deposed NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on July 31, 2015, and have obtained deposition testimony of several other key League executives, including Brendan Shanahan, Colin Campbell, and Brian Burke. If you would like any further information about the NHL concussion lawsuit, or to speak to a retired player, please contact or call 202-777-3562.

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