September 22, 2012
Boogaard’s Parents File Lawsuit Against the N.H.L. Players’ Association
By JOHN BRANCH
The parents of Derek Boogaard, the N.H.L. enforcer who died in May 2011 of an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers and alcohol, have sued the N.H.L. Players’ Association.
Boogaard was 28 when he died with three years remaining on a four-year, $6.5 million contract with the Rangers. The suit seeks the $4.8 million in salary he was scheduled to make and $5 million in punitive damages.
His parents say the union, after initial discussions with them after Boogaard’s death, did not meet a deadline to file a grievance seeking the final three years of his Rangers salary.
Len Boogaard, Derek’s father, confirmed that a lawsuit was filed Friday in Los Angeles but declined further comment. News of the lawsuit was first reported by TMZ.
“It is irrational for this union to believe that a grievance should not be filed over the nonpayment of the balance to one of its members’ S.P.C. when the union is aware that a team or teams bears responsibility for the player’s death,” part of the lawsuit reads. S.P.C. refers to a standard player contract.
The players association said it had not seen a copy of the suit.
“We are saddened to read reports that the parents of the late Derek Boogaard have filed a lawsuit against the N.H.L.P.A.,” the spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said in a statement.
“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 N.H.L.P.A. in regard to Derek’s tragic death. It is not appropriate to comment further at this time.”
Len Boogaard, a longtime member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, spent more than a year piecing together the final months and years of his son’s life. He gathered thousands of pages of documents — including drug tests, team medical records, phone records and prescriptions — raising questions about the care Boogaard received from team doctors and substance-abuse counselors provided by the N.H.L. and the union.
The evidence Len Boogaard compiled was described in a New York Times article in June.
“Derek was an addict,” Len Boogaard said last spring.
“But why was he an addict? Everyone said he had ‘off-ice’ issues. No, it was hockey.”
Derek Boogaard’s Parents Sue N.H.L. Players’ Association - NYTimes.com