Monday, May 13, 2013

Boogard's Family Sues NHL

I've been watching the hockey playoffs lately, and I was interested to hear that the family of Derek Boogard is suing the NHL for wrongful death.

In the lawsuit, the family alleges the league is responsible for the brain damage that Boogaard suffered during six seasons as an enforcer, as well as his addiction to prescription painkillers.

As a civil trial lawyer, I wonder what the jury will do with this....  What would you do if you were on the jury?  Can we blame the NHL for Boogard's drug addiction?  I will be interested in hearing the attorney's theories on this one.


  1. If his lawyer can prove the NHL recognized the game's inherent brain-injury risks and failed to install reasonable safeguards in the form of acceptable rule changes and/or mandated equipment upgrades, then I believe jurors will fault the league. Not sure whether that means they'd also rule his pain-med addiction was a direct result of such negligence, however. But obviously, if this case is ruled in favor of the plaintiff it will open the door to a flood of subsequent litigation. The NFL players' suit against their league for similar claims of brain-injury-risk acceptance will also indicate how juries likely will rule in future lawsuits across all professional sports leagues.

    1. If successful, will the lawsuits, litigation, and jury awards ruin contact sports as we know them?

      Here's another opinion on the subject:

  2. I do feel badly for the Boogaard and his family, but assumption of risk would weigh heavily for me. Plus, I assume he played a lot of hockey outside of the NHL.

  3. Ugh. Not the Boogaard. Just Boogaard. Tough name.