Injured hockey player helmet claim

The Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed an injured hockey player's claim against a helmet manufacturer and others.

It has been ruled that a hockey player who suffered a traumatic brain injury cannot claim against Bauer Nike Hockey Inc. He also cannot claim against the manufacturer of the helmet he was wearing or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

The CSA got named in this case because this association is responsible for setting the minimum standards for impact resistance of ice hockey helmets in Canada and for certifying those that meet that standard.

Darren More was playing organized hockey in 2004 at Esquimalt, B.C. when he hit the back of the boards with his back and the back of his head. His helmet, the Bauer HH5000L, met or exceeded the applicable standards and was certified by the CSA.

More was 17 years-old at the time of his injury. He suffered a subdural hematoma and fell into a six-week coma. He has been left with brain injuries that will require him to have 24-hour-a-day supervision for the rest of his life.

More and his family sued Bauer Nike and the CSA for $10 million. The basis of the claim alleged that the company had manufactured an unsafe helmet and the CSA had failed to implement adequate safety standards.

The defendants pointed out that there were labels on the helmet stating that severe head and brain injuries could occur despite wearing it. Owner's information that is provided with the helmet stated, "This helmet affords no protection from neck, spinal, or certain types of brain injuries including those that may be caused by rotational forces. Severe head, brain, and spinal injuries including paralysis or death may occur despite using this helmet."

The case was dismissed by Mr. Justice Malcolm Macaulay. The company did not have to use the safest design as long as the design available was reasonable in the circumstances. So that company met its duty.

It was ruled that the rear impact design features of the helmet did not contribute to More's injury. More may have been predisposed to such injury in this type of accident.

The judge also ruled that there was insufficient evidence for a finding of negligent misrepresentation. This is because the CSA warning labels on the helmet were not misleading and More did not rely on them. It was not established that any statement or omission on the part of the CSA contributed in any way to More's injury.

To read the Supreme Court of British Columbia judgment click here.

Turners Tips thanks Elliot Special Risks for this information.