B.C. judge throws Arland Bruce concussion lawsuit out of court

Arland Bruce wanted justice for all CFL players but his attempt to seek compensation and improve safety wrapped in the form of his concussion lawsuit has failed.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled in favour of the CFL in a judgment handed down Friday, TSN reported. Lawyers for the league had argued that claims such as the one brought by Bruce should be settled through the collective bargaining agreement and in his ruling Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson agreed.

Bruce (above) brought what he hoped would be a precedent-setting lawsuit as a result of a spectacular hit by Milt Collins of the Saskatchewan Roughriders he received in a 2012 game while the Lions were in Regina.

The veteran receiver was knocked out of the lineup for the majority of the season that year but claimed he was misled by the Lions about the effects of concussions. Bruce was activated for the 2012 division final and upon his release was on the active roster of the Montreal Alouettes. Bruce, who settled in Surrey after he was unable to get another CFL team to sign him, also contended he should not have been allowed to play for the Als because he showed the ongoing effects of a concussion.

However the court disagreed and as a result the CFL has scored a major victory. As both sides awaited a verdict, a class-action suit involving in excess of 100 former players had been filed in an Ontario court against the league. That suit was awaiting the outcome of Bruce’s claim, according to reports.

The CFL has stepped up its monitoring procedures in the early part of the decade by establishing stricter concussion protocol however in his claim Bruce’s lawyer, Robin Wishart, argued that the collective agreement between the league and the CFL Players Association did not mean a player gave up his right to a remedy through legal action. A B.C. judge, however, saw it differently, though Wishart, according to the Vancouver Province, is contemplating an appeal.


Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.