Gary Bettman to give sworn testimony in NHL concussion lawsuit

ByKatie Strang via ESPN logo
Thursday, July 30, 2015

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will face a legal deposition Friday morning in New York City as part of an ongoing concussion lawsuit against the NHL, a source told ESPN.com.

Bettman is expected to be deposed in front of U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson a 10 a.m. and face questions about the ongoing litigation filed on behalf of several NHL players alleging the league was reckless and negligent about informing players on the risks of long-term damage as a result of head injuries suffered while playing the game.

The commissioner will likely be questioned about what the NHL is doing for former players who are suffering health consequences from their playing days, whether the league feels there is a link from head injuries and long-term neurological diseases, and what the league discovered and disclosed while conducting internal research on the concussion issue.

There are six plaintiffs in the case -- Dan LaCouture, Michael Peluso, Gary Leeman,Bernie Nicholls, David Christian and Reed Larson -- who claim that the league avoided its responsibility to advise players of the risks they faced with concussions and brain injuries, and both "intentionally concealed material information" from and "recklessly endangered" the plaintiffs.

Bettman is not the only NHL executive expected to be deposed, as deputy commissioner Bill Daly and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell will also be called to answer questions as part of the legal proceedings during the lengthy discovery phase.

Deposition subpoenas on behalf of the plaintiffs were also sent to longtime Philadelphia Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin and former Pittsburgh Penguins doctor Charles Burke. McCrossin is a member of the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society and the NHL-NHLPA Concussion Working Group, while Dr. Burke is a former head of the NHL's Physicians' Society and author of the 2011 NHL Concussion Study Report.

From the league's end, all six lead plaintiffs will almost certainly be deposed, and potentially some of the additional plaintiffs who have joined the proposed class-action suit.