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Corboy & Demetrio Files NHL Concussion Lawsuit for Estate of Steve Montador


Corboy & Demetrio filed a lawsuit on Dec. 8, 2015, on behalf of the Estate of former Chicago Blackhawk, Boston Bruin, Buffalo Sabre, Calgary Flame, Anaheim Duck and Florida Panther, Steve Montador, who took part in 69 NHL fights and was discovered to have CTE upon his death at age 35 earlier this year.  

The federal lawsuit alleges that as far back as 1997 the NHL collected data on repetitive head trauma in its game, but failed to warn Steve Montador of the reality that repetitive head trauma in the NHL can cause long term cognitive and mental health impairments. The lawsuit alleges that this failure was intended to “conceal critical information” from NHL players in order to continue profiting from promoting an “extreme culture of violence.”  

“The NHL has long known that its players were susceptible to developing CTE and other neurodegenerative brain diseases as a result of the fist-fighting it allowed and promoted, the hard hits it encouraged and marketed, and/or the blows to the head that it steadfastly refused to eliminate from its game,” according to the complaint.  

“Like the NFL was, this League is in denial - The NHL still refuses to accept the fact that its game creates permanent, progressive brain damage,” said attorney Thomas A. Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio. “Instead, the NHL disingenuously gives its players a false sense of security by leading them to believe that repetitive head trauma in the NHL will not cause brain damage or resulting addiction or depression issues,” Demetrio added.   

Montador, who had played more than 600 games for various NHL teams until retiring in 2013, died on Feb. 15, 2015.  The lawsuit alleges he suffered thousands of hits to his head during his 13-year NHL career, including 15 documented concussions, with five concussions in just three months during the 2011-2012 season with the Blackhawks.  

“By burying its head in the sand on the issue of brain damage amongst its retired player population, the NHL is doing a disservice to the players who gave their blood, sweat and tears to the game.  It is high time for the League to recognize that many former players are suffering, and the NHL should step up to take care of these men and their families,” said attorney William T. Gibbs of Corboy & Demetrio.  

“The NHL’s body count is growing – how many more players will die with CTE before something meaningful is done to help those suffering?” Gibbs queried.     

"The NHL continues to ignore the lasting problems caused by multiple head traumas suffered by its players.  Tragedies like that of my son Steven will continue until the problem is addressed. The NHL knows but denies that years of repeated head injuries cause long-term brain problems " said Paul Montador, trustee of his son’s estate. Paul Montador added, "Steve wanted to see some things change for the good of current and future players. He did not want to be the face of this initiative but it seems to be turning out that way. The Montador family is pursuing the initiative as it was his wish."  

The Estate of Steve Montador is also represented by Richard R. Gordon of Gordon Law Offices, Ltd., who added, “The NHL is long overdue in eliminating the dangerous aspects of its game and providing its players with an honest assessment of the long-term ramifications of fighting and receiving hits to the head.”   

Thomas Demetrio and William Gibbs were appointed to the Executive Committee in the class-action lawsuit currently pending in the Minnesota District Court filed against the NHL on behalf of numerous former NHL players (In Re: National Hockey League Players’ Concussion Litigation, 0:14-md-02551).

In addition, Corboy & Demetrio represents the Estate of Derek Boogaard in a lawsuit against the NHL in the player’s death, the Estates of Dave Duerson and Forrest Blue in lawsuits against the NFL, claiming that the League’s silence contributed to cause the players’ CTE, and numerous retired NFL Players in suits against the League.  

Case info: Paul Montador, Trustee for the Estate of Steve Montador v. NHL and NHL Board of Governors; filed in Northern District Court of IL, Eastern Division on Dec. 8, 2015.

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