Thursday, February 16, 2006

Moore to take Bertuzzi to court again

With one day to go before a statute of limitations would have taken place, Tim Danson legal advisor to Steve Moore and his family has slapped a multi million dollar civil lawsuit on Todd Bertuzzi, the Vancouver Canucks and corporate parent Orca Bay.

Danson filed the suit in Ontario Supreme Court seeking lost wages and damages totaling over 18 million dollars. Moore is seeking 15 million in lost income, 1 million dollars in aggravated damages and 2 million in punitive damages. Moore’s parents are seeking “1.5 million dollars for negligent infliction of nervous shock and mental distress.” The Moore’s were watching television on that infamous night, when Bertuzzi attacked Moore taking him to the ice at General Motors Place.

And while the lawsuits stem from that night of hockey violence in March, Danson claims that the pre-meditation wheels were set in motion on February 16th in Denver, that night Moore hit Markus Naslund with what Danson refers to as a clean check. That check resulted in an injury to Naslund and as Danson relates it, was the genesis of the attack on Moore that would follow three weeks later in Vancouver.

Events that eventually would lead to a police investigation and a guilty plea from Bertuzzi to assault causing bodily harm. It was expected that the matter would once again return to civil court as the days turned into months and Moore seemed unable to return to the NHL and his career.

The civil suit however may find a rough road in Ontario, a previous attempt at a civil suit in Colorado was tossed out by the judiciary there over the fact that the assault took place in British Columbia. It likewise may not make it too far along OntarioÂ’s judicial calendar for much the same reason.

Danson filed his motion in Ontario to take advantage of Ontario law which allows a victim to have a case heard in the jurisdiction in which he allegedly suffers damages. The scope of the lawsuit has stunned observersrvors in the Canadian legal community, who look at the nearly 20 million dollars sought in damages as unprecedented.

Bertuzzi is presently in Italy as part of the Canadian Olympic team, so any comment from him is not expected until after the Olympic Games. He may however be served with his legal papers while playing for Canada, which will prove to be another bit of media fodder for the press. Perhaps sliding in just below the Rick Tocchet gambling ring story and the actual Olympic Hockey competition.

The lawsuit was an expected bit of business for the NHL, with the criminal matter taken care of and Bertuzzi re-instated the civil action was destined to follow. Though one suspects that Gary Bettman may have wished for a bit more time to pass before he found his league on the front pages once again, for all the wrong reasons!

No comments: