Saturday, March 29, 2008

More Moore Lawsuit

In 2004, Todd Bertuzzi, then of the Vancouver Canucks (now an Anaheim Duck) suckerpunched Steve Moore (then of the Colorado Avalanche) and fell onto Moore who was the bottom of what eventually became a dogpile fight. Moore broke three vertebrae and has not played an NHL game since. This action, which is an embarrassment for the NHL, was seen as retribution for a knee-on-knee hit where Moore injured Canuck Markus Naslund. This is a story that I wish would go away, but it isn't, thanks to the North American lawsuit culture.

Moore did some jurisdiction shopping and eventually filed a case in Canada. He is seeking $38 million. Even if we believe that hockey disputes should be handled in a court of law, this is an excessive amount. Steve Moore is trying to win the lottery in a court room. This is a problem with the lawsuit culture that exists. The chance of excessive dollar amounts to the victors encourages ridiculous demands like this.

Of course, nobody wants to pay Moore $38 million. Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks had been named in the earlier lawsuit which has now been amended to include then Vancouver Canuck coach Marc Crawford (who now coaches the Los Angeles Kings).

The existence of excessive damage amounts in lawsuits is a problem in North America (especially USA) and this Moore lawsuit is an example. Moore is trying to get rich via the courts. I just wish this story could go away.

Here is CBC's story on the latest twists in Moore's lawsuit.

I found your coverage of this issue surprisingly superficial. A similar article by Tom Benjamin identifies what I consider the more germane issue: "a trial that delivers a black eye to the league." And my opinion is that it is long overdue for the league.

1) Dead on! Moore deserves some compensation for lost wages/pain suffering, but NOT that much.
2) Of course who makes the laws? Lawyers by and large. Trial lawyers contribute huge sums to the campaigns of politicians. So its unlikely we'll see meaningful tort reform any time soon.

You seem to be describing the US court system much better than the Canadian one (where this case is). Moore tried to file the case in the US first because he had a much better chance of winning a ridiculous amount of money. He is trying again in the Canadian system (because the Colorado courts claimed no jurisdiction over an event that happened in Vancouver). Most likely, Moore will not wind up with anything near the amount he is asking for in Canada - but that doesn't stop him from asking.
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