Enforcer Derek Boogaard's family sues NHL for `wrongful death` - FOX 32 News Chicago

Enforcer Derek Boogaard's family sues NHL for `wrongful death`

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The family of a famously combative hockey player who died from an accidental overdose of pain-killers and alcohol has sued the National Hockey League in Cook County Circuit Court.

The Chicago law firm of Corboy & Demetrio announced Sunday that it filed the suit on behalf of the family of Derek Boogaard, who was 28 when he died two years ago after a six-year NHL career, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The family's lawyers say the league "knew, or should have known" that Boogaard and players in his role — "enforcer/fighters" who specialize in fistfights during games — have an increased risk of brain damage.

The lawsuit also alleges that Boogaard was given huge quantities of pain pills by team doctors and that the league failed to treat him as promised after he became addicted.

An NHL spokesman declined to comment on the suit, saying the league's commissioner, Gary Bettman, and other officials had not seen it.

The 55-page filing begins by noting that in Boogaard's 277 games for the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers, he scored just three goals but participated in 66 on-ice fights.

The lawyers go on to detail the copious medications that Boogaard was given to deal with dozens of injuries. During the 2008-09 season with the Wild, team doctors, dentists, trainers and staff wrote more than 40 prescriptions for a total of 1,021 pills, according to the suit.

"The NHL's failure to prevent over-prescription of addictive medications to Derek Boogaard caused wrongful death," the suit alleges.

The league then breached its duty to "curb, cure and monitor Derek Boogaard's drug addiction," the lawyers wrote, describing the player's unsuccessful attempts at rehab.

Boogaard, who was 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 270 pounds, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy — advanced brain damage caused by all the blows he took to the head.

The same law firm that filed this suit is representing the family of the late Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson in a case brought last year against the National Football League. Duerson committed suicide in 2011. Like Boogaard, he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

In a statement Sunday, the lawyers for Boogaard's survivors said they want the NHL to change its policies so that such tragedies do not recur with other NHL hard men.

"Fighting night after night took its expected toll on Derek's body and mind," attorney William T. Gibbs said. "He turned to the team doctors who dispensed pain pills like candy. Then, once he became addicted to these narcotics, the NHL promised his family that it would take care of him."

The suit, which seeks a judgment "in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limit," was filed Friday on behalf of Boogaard's father, mother, three brothers and one sister.

Follow Us!

Share Your Sports Photos & Video

Submit Your Sports Photos

Share Your Photos & Video

  • SportsMore>>

  • Cubs honor Jackie Robinson West little leaguers

    Cubs honor Jackie Robinson West little leaguers

    The Chicago Cubs are tipping their hats to a championship team at Wrigley Field: The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars.
    The Chicago Cubs are tipping their hats to a championship team at Wrigley Field: The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars.
  • Fowles leads Sky past Fever in 2OT to even series

    Fowles leads Sky past Fever in 2OT to even series

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:32:17 GMT
    Sylvia Fowles scored 27 points and the Chicago Sky beat the Indiana Fever 86-84 in two overtimes to even the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals on Monday.
    Sylvia Fowles scored 27 points and the Chicago Sky beat the Indiana Fever 86-84 in two overtimes to even the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals on Monday.
  • Castillo, Valbuena help Cubs beat Brewers 4-2

    Castillo, Valbuena help Cubs beat Brewers 4-2

    Monday, September 1 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:37:23 GMT
    Welington Castillo homered and drove in three runs, Luis Valbuena also hit a home run and the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Monday.
    Welington Castillo homered and drove in three runs, Luis Valbuena also hit a home run and the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Monday.
Powered by WorldNow

205 N. Michigan Avenue
Ground Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Station Operator: (312) 565-5532
Newsroom: (312)565-5533

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices