When Derek Boogaard died suddenly in May 2011, he still had $4.8 million left on his 4-year contract with the New York Rangers.
According to TMZ Sports, his family has filed a lawsuit claiming the NHL Players Association didn't properly assist them in filing a grievance against the New York Rangers to collect the balance of that contract. From TMZ on Friday night:
In the lawsuit, Derek's parents claim he was addicted to prescription pills at the time of his death ... partly because he had been prescribed "a multitude of narcotics and sleeping pills by both the team doctors, physicians, trainers, and dentists of the New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild."
Because Derek's parents believe the NHL teams are partly responsible for their son's death, they turned to the NHL PA which promised to help them file a grievance to get the Rangers to pay out the rest of Derek's multi-million dollar 4-year contract with the team.
But, according to the lawsuit, the NHL PA failed to file the grievance by the required deadline, so the Boogaards were unable to collect ... and now the Boogaards are PISSED.
PISSED, even! Wonder if that'll be added to the official court record. "Your honor, I submit my clients are PISSED, per TMZ …"
The Boogaards are reportedly seeking the $4.8 million that Derek was due plays $5 million in punitive damages.
In June 2012, the NY Times published an exhaustive investigation by Len Boogaard, Derek's father, that detailed his son's addiction to prescription pain medication and interaction with the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers about his addictions.
Regarding legal action, he told the Times:
Len Boogaard has considered lawsuits. But he said that taking the N.H.L. and those with ties to it to court could take a financial and time commitment that he could not afford. He cited the example of Steve Moore, a Colorado Avalanche player attacked on the ice by Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi in 2004. A long-awaited trial is scheduled to begin later this year.
"It's not the money," Len Boogaard said. "But in eight years, how many more players are going to go through something like what Derek did?"
UPDATE -- The NHLPA released the following statement to Puck Daddy on Friday night:
"We are saddened to read reports that the parents of the late Derek Boogaard have filed a lawsuit against the NHLPA. We have not been served with or seen a copy of the complaint, but we are confident that there is no meritorious claim that can be made against the NHLPA in regard to Derek's tragic death. It is not appropriate to comment further at this time."