Arland Bruce loses appeal in concussion lawsuit against CFL

Former CFL receiver Arland Bruce has lost the latest round of his concussion-related lawsuit.

In a ruling released Friday, the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision that the issues raised in Bruce’s lawsuit are part of a collective bargaining agreement between the league and the CFL Players’ Association.

The judge dismissed the case in March, 2016, saying those issues must be resolved through the grievance and arbitration process, not the courts.

The defendants included the league, former commissioner Mark Cohon, neuroscientist Dr. Charles Tator, the Canadian Football League Alumni Association and every team in the league.

The CFL issued the following statement Friday afternoon:

The CFL is very pleased with the Court of Appeal’s decision.  We hope that this decision brings finality to any proceedings in the courts with respect to concussion litigation against the CFL. We will have no further comment at this time.

Bruce played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, B.C. Lions and Montreal Alouettes over the course of his 14 year career.
He was part of Grey Cup winning teams in Toronto in 2004 and with the B.C. Lions in 2011.

The former wide receiver first filed his lawsuit in July 2014, claiming the defendants downplayed the effects of repetitive head trauma and misrepresented player safety issues about concussions.

His lawsuit claimed Bruce was knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion while playing for the Lions in September 2012 and he reported fogginess, headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, memory loss, confusion, dizziness, anxiety and personality changes.

Court documents alleged he was permitted to return to play in November of that year and then again for the Alouettes in the 2013 season despite still suffering from the effects of concussion.

The lawsuit stated that the CFL should have intervened and prevented Bruce from returning to the field. Bruce alleged that he has suffered permanent disability, and his head injury will continue to cause earnings loss along as well as the loss of enjoyment of life.

The CFL is also facing a $200-million class action lawsuit filed in Ontario Superior Court last May by former players Korey Banks and the league Eric (The Flea) Allen.

– with files from CP.

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