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Eric Macramalla Breaks Down the NHL’s Second Concussion Lawsuit

Eric Macramalla, legal analyst at the Sport Network (TSN), joined Jeff Thurn on Thursday’s edition of Overtime on ESPN 99.1.

Macramalla broke news on Thursday afternoon on the latest in the NHL’s concussion lawsuit, involving former players Dan LaCouture, Dan Keczmer, Jack Carlson, Richard Brennan, Brad Maxwell, Michael Peluso, Allan Rourke, and Scott Bailey.

The last concussion lawsuit filed was in November.

The second lawsuit is odd because is it reads that Gordie Howe is dead, and spells Sidney Crosby’s name wrong.

Macramalla discussed the second lawsuit more in general with Thurn: 

“Well, the actual lawsuit document that was sent to me by the lawyers, you’ve got nine plaintiffs, that the one name that sticks out is Peluso. He played for the Devils and was an enforcer. Any other names aren’t that recognizable, I think to the average hockey fan. Maybe Dan LeCouture’s name might be recognizable, but these are your main plaintiffs. What that means in a class action lawsuit, is a lawyer picks a group of plaintiffs that can represent the entire group and it can be other ones, 50, 100, 200 behind the scenes. They can also collect plaintiffs later on as they go, but as a class action lawsuit, you don’t name everybody. You just name representative sample. As far as the actual lawsuit itself, it’s quite similar to what we have seen in the NFL and across the 225 plus lawsuits and what we saw in the NHL concussion lawsuit. The first thing is the NHL is alleging that they knew the long term impact of head shots, namely CTE, and didn’t share with the players. No. 2 is whether they can seal the information or not, that you know what, they had such a violent culture, that this type of brain damage was inevitable, and had a duty to put in place safeguards to protect the players and they didn’t do that. The third thing that is being alleged is that they intentionally allowed the players to get harmed. They are all legal points, but all basically shake out to stand out for the following principles for plaintiffs that the NHL knew they had a violent culture and didn’t take the necessary steps to safeguard the players. Now, that being said, this complaint as called in the U.S. that outlines the lawsuit is something I’ve never seen before. Jeff, I’ve never something drafted like this, it is bizarre to say the least. There are mistakes in there, for example, someone should let Gordie Howe know that he is not dead because according to this complaint Gordie Howe is dead, Sidney Crosby’s name is spelled incorrectly, although frankly I don’t have any sympathy for that because I’ve heard enough of his name the past few years. There are footnotes mentioning the movie, “Youngbloods,” with Rob Lowe. Referenced to horror movies and stuff like that. Highly unusual. Plus, there are pictures. We don’t put pictures in lawsuits because you have to authenticate stuff in court, like say where this came from, and prove it. The reason they put pictures is because when they wanted me to distribute this lawsuit, they know it is going to get out there for public consumption, and want people to read it, and be moved by the pictures itself. Anyone that watches hockey, is not going to be moved by the pictures. ‘Oh yeah, I remember that fight and that was awesome.’ So, that’s the bottom line, it is the same type of lawsuit we saw before and is kind of poorly drafted. I’m not throwing any other lawyers under the bus, it’s not what I like to do, but it’s bizarre and from their standpoint, the reason it’s not a good thing, apart from their credibility, is when you have a class action lawsuit, your goal is to recruit other plaintiffs and can’t spell Sidney Crosby or say that Gordie Howe is dead, then there’s a chance people are going to say, I don’t want to join your lawsuit.”

To hear more of Macramalla’s interview with Thurn, listen below:

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**For story ideas, or comments, email Sam at and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.**

Catch Thurn weekday’s on ESPN 99.1 in Sioux Falls from 3 to 6 p.m.

Leon Halip/Getty Images


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