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NHLPA seeks to have Derek Boogaard family lawsuit dismissed

Sean Leahy
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In September, the parents of Derek Boogaard filed a lawsuit against the NHL Players' Association claiming that the union failed to assist them in filing a grievance for the remainder of his contract with the New York Rangers.

At the time of Boogaard's death in May 2011, there were four years and $4.8 million left on his contract with the team. The lawsuit is seeking the remaining money on the contract plus $5 million in punitive damages.

The lawsuit alleges that "at numerous times during his professional hockey career, to cope with injuries and pain and simply to be able to play or sleep after games, Derek Boogaard was prescribed or injected with a multitude of narcotics and sleeping pills by both the team doctors, physicians, trainers and dentists of the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild."

After reports of the lawsuit broke, the NHLPA responded in a statement saying, "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."

This week, the NHLPA moved to have the lawsuit dismissed.

According to James Gordon of the Ottawa Citizen, the PA are asserting that the statute of limitations on the Boogaard's claim had expired. The union also claims they had informed the family that going down the legal route would not be beneficial, due to the lack of provisions in the NHL CBA at the time regarding what happens to a player's benefits if they pass away.

From the Citizen:

"No party disputes that the death of Derek Boogaard was a tragedy," reads a memorandum filed with a California court Monday. "That tragedy, however, does not suspend the requirements of timeliness, jurisdiction, and the laws that govern labour organizations like the NHLPA and union counsel like [Roman] Stoykewych, all of which mandate dismissal of the First Amended Complaint."

The memo also claims that "substantial insurance payments were made to the Boogaards."

In the New York Times' comprehensive story on Boogaard in June, his father, Len, was hesitant to file lawsuits after seeing the amount of time and money spent in cases like Steve Moore's.

"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?

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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