November 12, 2018 / 6:20 PM / a month ago

Tentative settlement reached in NHL concussions lawsuit

The NHL and attorneys for retired players on Monday announced a tentative settlement in the concussions lawsuit filed against the league.

Sep 9, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr appear on stage together during a press conference and media event for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The lawsuit, handled in federal court in Minnesota, involves more than 100 former players who claim the NHL failed to better prevent head injuries or warn players of the risks while also promoting violent and dangerous play.

The total value of the settlement announced Monday is $16.9 million, according to the agreement released by the NHL. Of that total, nearly $7 million will be distributed to 318 settling plaintiffs, approximately $22,000 per player.

In a statement, the league said it is not acknowledging liability for any of the players’ claims.

“The NHL does not acknowledge any liability for any of Plaintiffs’ claims in these cases. However, the parties agree that the settlement is a fair and reasonable resolution and that it is in the parties’ respective best interests to receive the benefits of the settlement and to avoid the burden, risk and expense of further litigation.”

A league spokesman said there would be no further comment on the settlement until after the 75-day opt-in period for the players.

“I’m glad it’s over,” NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr said. “It might make it easier for us to have discussions with the NHL going forward.”

According to the players’ attorneys, the settlement also includes league-funded neurological testing and up to $75,000 in medical treatments for players who test positive on two or more tests.

The settlement also includes a Common Good Fund to support retired players in need, including those who did not participate in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in November 2013. In July 2018, a federal judge denied a bid by the plaintiffs to have the case receive class-action status, and negotiations between the two sides began within a few months of that ruling.

—Field Level Media

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