According to the New York Times, Derek Boogard's father Len has filed a lawsuit against the NHLPA seeking $9.8 million dollars in damages. The suit seeks the $4.8 million he was set to receive in salary under his contract with the New York Rangers, as well as $5 million in punitive damages. The suit claims that the union failed to meet the deadline to file an action against the Rangers for the remainder of his salary.
Boogaard, as previously reported by the Times in their excellent three-part investigation, struggled with an addiction to painkillers and died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.
The lawsuit states: “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." S.P.C. refers to a standard player contract.
NHLPA spokesman Johnathan Weatherton said in a statement, “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.. 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.”
A follow-up article in the NY Times this June showed that Derek's father Len had gathered thousands of documents regarding the last several months of his son's life, his medical treatment, and prescriptions. Interestingly, in that article, Len Boogaard told the Times that he was hesitant to pursue legal action because of the length of the legal process. It now appears that this could be the first of several legal actions taken by the Boogaard family as a result of their son's tragic death.
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