DENVER -- Attorneys for the Vancouver Canucks, forward Todd Bertuzzi and others asked a judge Monday to throw out a lawsuit
filed by former Colorado Avalanche center Steve Moore over
Bertuzzi's on-ice attack in March 2004, saying Moore didn't have
enough connections to Colorado to gain the right to sue in state
Moore, still recovering from injuries sustained in the game in
Vancouver, is seeking unspecified damages from the Canucks, the
partnership that owns the team, Bertuzzi, former player Brad May,
coach Marc Crawford and former general manager Brian Burke.
Moore's attorney Lee Foreman told Denver District Judge Shelley
Gilman that Moore was a Colorado resident when he was injured March
8, 2004, and when he filed the lawsuit, giving him the right to
seek damages in a Colorado court. He also argued that events
leading up to Bertuzzi's hit started during a game in Denver Feb.
16, 2004, in which Moore hit Canucks captain Markus Naslund,
leaving him with a concussion.
The judge did not indicate when she planned to rule.
After the February game, Bertuzzi, May -- who signed with the
Avalanche this summer -- Crawford and Burke met in Denver and
planned Bertuzzi's hit as retaliation, Foreman said. He also said
Bertuzzi, May and other players threatened Moore after that game
and during a March 3, 2004, game in Denver.
The lawsuit accuses Bertuzzi and the other defendants of civil
conspiracy, assault, battery and negligence.
Bertuzzi faced up to 18 months in prison after Vancouver
authorities charged him with assault. He pleaded guilty in August
and was sentenced to probation and ordered to perform community
He also was reinstated to the NHL in August after being
indefinitely suspended. He missed the Canucks' final 13
regular-season games and the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2004, giving
up about $502,000 in salary.
Bertuzzi has played in two preseason games and is due to earn
about $5.2 million this season from the Canucks.
Moore missed 12 regular-season games and 12 playoff games last
season after suffering three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a
concussion and other injuries when Bertuzzi grabbed him from
behind, punched him on the head and then drove his head into the
ice. Moore is an unrestricted free agent, but testified in court
Monday that Avalanche officials have told him they plan to sign him
to a new contract once his doctors clear him to play again.
Moore testified that he began training in April to return to
"I want to return to the team I was playing with before I was
injured," he said. "I've been a part of that organization for six
years and spent a lot of time and effort proving myself there."
Canucks attorney Michael O'Donnell argued that Moore had no
family or property in Colorado and no legal ties to the state
either when his injury occurred or when he filed the lawsuit.
"We are here today because of something that happened in Canada
between Canadian residents and citizens of Canada," O'Donnell
said. "The plaintiff has engaged in impermissible
Burke's attorney, Scott Barker, said his client wasn't even in
Colorado for the Feb. 16, 2004, game and couldn't have participated
in the alleged conspiracy.
O'Donnell said a state law governing lawsuits filed over events
that occur outside the state requires the judge to dismiss the case
because Moore was never a Colorado resident.
Foreman disputed that, saying Moore continues to maintain a
local phone number in Denver, has important mail such as phone
bills delivered to a Denver address and intends to return to
Colorado once he is medically cleared to play. He also said Moore
lived in Denver for several months after he was injured. Foreman
also said Moore has held a Colorado driver's license, registered
his car in Colorado and obtained a Colorado car-insurance policy.