Moore, Bertuzzi battle over legal fees in failed lawsuit

Updated: December 22, 2005, 3:47 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- After losing the first round in his legal battle against Todd Bertuzzi for a hit that broke his neck, former Avalanche forward Steve Moore is trying to slash the attorney fees he will have to pay.

Steve Moore

Todd Bertuzzi

Bertuzzi, a forward for the Vancouver Canucks, and other defendants wanted Moore to pay almost $161,000 in attorney fees and costs after a judge dismissed Moore's civil suit in October. Moore's attorney countered with an offer to pay about $80,000.

Moore hasn't played since a March 8, 2004, game when Bertuzzi grabbed him from behind, punched him in the head and slammed his head into the ice. Moore suffered three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a concussion and other injuries.

Bertuzzi was charged with assault and pleaded guilty in a Vancouver court, where he was sentenced to probation and community service.

Moore's civil suit accused Bertuzzi, Canucks coach Marc Crawford and others of conspiring to hurt Moore after Moore hit Canucks captain Markus Naslund in a previous game. The suit sought unspecified damages.

The judge said Moore's lawsuit would be better handled in Canada, where Moore's injury occurred and where Moore, Bertuzzi and most of the witnesses live.

State law requires that plaintiffs pay the defendants fees and costs when cases are dismissed before trial.

Moore's attorney, Lee Foreman, said in a court filing that the defendants' dollar request was "overreaching and almost laughable" and contained numerous duplicate charges.

Attorneys for Bertuzzi, Crawford and the Canucks and former Canucks general manager Brian Burke did not immediately return calls Thursday. Foreman was out of state and unavailable, his receptionist said.

Foreman has notified the Colorado Court of Appeals that he will appeal the dismissal of Moore's suit. The notice keeps the door open for Moore to appeal but does not obligate him to do so.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press