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NHL Players' Concussion Injury Litigation - MDL 14-2551


Introduction

On November 25, 2013, the first of five proposed class action cases was filed by over two dozen former National Hockey League ("NHL") players against the NHL regarding traumatic brain injuries. The plaintiffs generally allege that the NHL failed to warn its players of the short and long-term effects of repeated concussions and head trauma. Plaintiffs allege these and other actions and inactions by the NHL resulted in players suffering from, or increased the risk of contracting, serious brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, dementia, and Parkinson's, and accelerated the speed and severity of players' post-retirement mental decline. The NHL denies the former players' allegations, and believes that the suit lacks merit. The NHL believes the facts will show that it has a strong record on player safety, including issues related to head injuries and brain trauma and that the players were aware of the risks associated with playing in the NHL.

On August 19, 2014, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation determined that the NHL players' concussion injury cases involved common questions of fact and that centralization of the cases in the District of Minnesota was appropriate. All similar cases by former NHL players against the NHL were transferred to the District of Minnesota and assigned to the Honorable Susan Richard Nelson for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings. Any subsequent similar case filed in federal court will be transferred to the District of Minnesota and become part of MDL No. 14-2551 as a "tag along" case.