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A federal judge in St. Paul, Minnesota, has denied class action status for former National Hockey League players over what they described as “pathological and debilitating effects of brain injuries” sustained during their careers, according to the decision filed Friday.
The order, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, states that "widespread differences" in state laws concerning medical monitoring, which the retired players are seeking as an “immense relief,” would "present significant case management difficulties.”
The 46-page decision outlines major differences in state workers compensation laws, some which require certain injuries and proof to qualify for medical monitoring.
The suit, originally filed in 2013, now lists more than 100 players. They sought to create a class action suit that would have included all living former NHL players and all retired players diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases and conditions caused by the league’s promotion of violence among players, citing examples that included newspaper quotes from league leaders, features showing violent hits and fights in commercials for the game, and airing a weekly program called “Top 10 Hits of the Week” on the NHL Network, according to court documents. Media reports state the class could have included up to 5,000 players.
The NHL disputed the assertion of plaintiffs and their experts and argued that there is no “definitive causal link” between players sustaining concussions and later developing neurological disorders and diseases, according to documents.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.
Ten former National Hockey League players have filed a class action lawsuit alleging the league and its board of governors have not done enough to protect players from concussions.