TORONTO - Lawyers defending Todd Bertuzzi, Marc Crawford and the former owners of the Vancouver Canucks lost their bid to kill key provisions of a secret agreement they signed to resolve counter-suits in a multi-million dollar civil claim by former hockey player Steve Moore.
Moore’s NHL career with Colorado ended on March 8, 2004 after he suffered injuries as a result of being attacked by Bertuzzi in Vancouver.
Moore filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the player, Crawford — his coach — and the former owners of the Vancouver Canucks. The case has been winding its way through the courts for the last few years.
The defendants, Bertuzzi, Crawford and Orca Bay Hockey Ltd. had launched lawsuits in counter-claims against each other, but those parties settled in a secret agreement that brought the lawyers back to court Monday.
Master Ronald Dash of the Superior Court of Ontario last week ordered Bertuzzi, Crawford and Orca Bay Hockey Ltd., to turn over the agreement signed by those parties in July 2011.
The deal was negotiated and agreed upon without informing Moore’s lawyer, Tim Danson.
“Liability for Moore’s injuries would be easier to prove against Bertuzzi since he pleaded guilty to criminal charges of assault causing bodily harm. Proving liability against Orca Bay may be more difficult for the plaintiffs,” wrote Dash.
Dash added that Orca Bay’s willingness to shoulder “a proportionate share of Bertuzzi’s damages ... could be considered a financial incentive” for him to drop his third-party claim against Crawford.
Alan D’Silva, lawyer for Orca Bay, and Geoffrey Adair, who represents Bertuzzi, asked Monday that Dash remove a section that indicated the lawyers should have informed the court they were no longer court adversaries in the Moore case.
But Dash refused to do so, although he repeated his point that he “didn’t suggest that the lawyers deliberately attempted to mislead the court.”
In the signed agreement, Bertuzzi agreed to drop his suit against Crawford and against the former owners of the Canucks, and each agreed to drop suits against the current Detroit Red Wings forward.