Report: Moore's lawyer deemed settlement offer 'insulting'
Lawyers for Todd Bertuzzi offered $350,000 last year to settle the $15 million lawsuit brought by Steve Moore, the former Colorado Avalanche player whose career was halted by Bertuzzi's on-ice attack in 2004, according to a report in the Toronto Star.
The report cites court documents, in which Moore's attorney, in a letter to Bertuzzi's attorney, said a December 2006 meeting between both sides arranged by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly was "a complete waste of time" and that the settlement offer "was calculated to be an insult and was an insult."
The letter, dated March 29, 2007, is labeled "strictly personal and confidential" but was filed as a public record as part of a motion filed in Ontario Superior Court by Orca Bay, the Vancouver company that owns the Canucks, according to the report.
"In the context of everyone meeting in good faith, I entered the boardroom and extended my hand to everyone there," Moore's lawyer, Tim Danson, wrote to Bertuzzi's lawyer, Geoffrey Adair, according to the Star. "Your client refused to shake my hand and effectively turned his back on me ... I was shocked by such disrespect. I then turned to everyone and said with enormous disappointment, 'What's this -- what a great way to start the meeting.' I was met with complete silence."
"To then receive a joint offer from Mr. Bertuzzi and Orca Bay in New York for $350,000 was quite a shock and certainly sent out all the wrong messages," Danson wrote.
Danson also wrote that in July of last year, Adair made an informal offer to settle the case for $1 million -- an offer Moore's side declined, but took as a good-faith starting point, "albeit exceptionally low," according to the report.
Danson declined to comment on the letter, other than to say it should not have been filed as a public document, according to the Star.
Adair said the Danson letter "does not accurately reflect the facts of the case," but declined to elaborate further, according to the report.
During a March 8, 2004, game, Bertuzzi, then playing for the Canucks, punched Moore in the side of the head, then drove his head into the ice from behind. Moore was taken off the ice on a stretcher and hospitalized with a concussion, three broken vertebrae and other injuries.
In a previous game, a hit by Moore on Bertuzzi's teammate Markus Naslund sidelined Naslund for three games with a concussion. At the time, Bertuzzi said he was glad that the teams had two games left to play that season, and then-teammate Brad May said Moore had a "bounty" on his head, although he later said he was kidding.
After the hit, Bertuzzi was suspended for the remaining 13 games of the 2003-04 season and the playoffs. He now plays for the Anaheim Ducks.
Moore has not played since the attack.
Adair said Moore's complaint might not reach a courtroom for 12 to 18 months if it goes to trial, according to the Star.
The lawsuit was filed in February 2006, just as Bertuzzi was preparing to suit up for Canada at the Turin Olympics, and four months after a similar case in Denver was thrown out when a U.S. judge determined the suit would be better handled in Canada.
Bertuzzi was also charged criminally with assault by Vancouver authorities. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation and community service.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.