The National Hockey League was sued by an insurer seeking to limit its duty to defend the league in lawsuits alleging it concealed the long-term effects of concussions and failed to warn players of the risks.
TIG Insurance Co., a Manchester, N.H.-based unit of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., filed the suit Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on the eve of the NHL playoffs, the annual tournament for the Stanley Cup.
The NHL faces two lawsuits from former players who accused the league of concealing the risk of severe brain injuries. The suits, filed in federal courts in Washington in November and New York on April 9, followed the National Football League’s decision in August to pay $765 million to settle litigation over concussions.
TIG issued liability policies to the NHL and affiliates that were in effect for various periods from 1989 to 2001, according to the Tuesday’s filing. The insurer is seeking a declaration that any past or future duty to defend the league may be limited or precluded because the NHL may have failed to comply with the conditions of the policies, which don’t provide coverage for intentional wrongdoing or bodily injury that was “expected or intended,” according to the suit.
Frank Brown, a spokesman for the NHL, declined to comment on the insurers’ lawsuit in an email.
The case is TIG Insurance Co. v. National Hockey League, 651162/2014, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).