NHL Player's Attorney Says Teams Withheld Medical Records

October 27, 2017 06:17 PM

Attorneys representing two NHL teams argued in federal court in St. Paul Friday that a lawsuit filed by a former professional hockey player from Minnesota should be dismissed.

In that suit, Mike Peluso — who grew up on the Iron Range and now lives in Woodbury — accuses the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues of withholding his medical records for more than two decades.

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KSTP first reported in May that the Devils' organization was found to have "wrongfully withheld" Peluos's records during a separate, ongoing worker compensation case in California.


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Shawn Stuckey, Peluso's attorney, says additional documents were produced in the case last month that show the team knew Peluso was at risk of suffering seizures in 1994, but continued to clear him to play.

A pathology report from March 1994 showed "abnormal findings" nearly a month after Peluso suffered his first grand mal seizure while on a team trip.

RELATED: Fighting Back: Former NHL Player's Medical Records 'Intentionally Concealed'

At that time, Peluso's seizure had already been linked to a concussion he suffered earlier that season, according to another medical record that re-surfaced last year as part of a class action lawsuit against the NHL.

In that report from February 1994, Dr. Marvin Ruderman increased Peluso's anti-seizure medication and wrote that Peluso "understands there is a risk of recurrent seizures," adding ,"I do not believe that the participation in playing hockey in itself poses an excessive risk….unless he were to sustain head injuries…"


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Peluso went on to suffer repeated blows to the head as key enforcer on New Jersey's infamous "crash line" that led the Devils to the 1995 Stanley Cup.

"I shouldn't have never touched the ice again after that medical report," Peluso said during an interview at his home last spring.

RELATED: Extended Interview: Mike Peluso, Former NHL Player and 'Enforcer'

Stuckey says both medical records were withheld.

"(The New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues) had the motive to do it. They had the opportunity to do it and they did it. And now they're essentially trying to get away with it," Stuckey said.

Christopher J. Schmidt, a St. Louis based attorney who represents the Blues and the Devils, said in court Friday that there has been "simply no fraudulent concealment" of medical records.

Schmidt, who declined to comment for this story, asked Judge Susan Nelson to dismiss the lawsuit because it has "no connection" to Minnesota.

It's not yet clear when Nelson will decide if the lawsuit can move forward. 

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Joe Augustine

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