Arland Bruce loses final appeal in concussion lawsuit against CFL

The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear the case of a former Canadian Football League star who wanted to sue the league over concussion trauma.

Two lower courts in British Columbia dismissed the suit filed by Arland Bruce III, saying the Supreme Court previously ruled that unionized employees must use labour arbitration – not the courts – to resolve disputes that arise from their collective agreement.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t saddened and surprised,” said Robyn Wishart, Bruce’s lawyer. “I’m surprised because I thought they’d hear it.”

The CFL said it was happy with Thursday’s outcome.

“The CFL is very pleased with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision,” the league said in a statement. “We hope that this decision brings finality to any proceedings in the courts with respect to concussion litigation against the CFL.”

Wishart said she’ll now take Bruce’s case to arbitration.

Bruce started in the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2001 and finished his career in 2014 as a member of the Montreal Alouettes after stints with the Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and B.C. Lions.

He argued that he sustained “permanent and disabling” repetitive head trauma as a player.

In court documents, Bruce says he continues to suffer post-concussive symptoms, including depression, paranoia, delusions and other medical issues.

As usual in decisions on leaves to appeal, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for refusing to hear the case.

– CP