The NHLPA is scheduled to return to court on May 17 as case management begins at the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice in relation to a lawsuit filed by former union employee Allan Etherington, sources tell The Hockey News.
In 2019, allegations made by Etherington were brought to the courts regarding claims of “negligence, constructive dismissal/ wrongful dismissal, harassment, discrimination based on disability in contravention of the Ontario Human Rights Code, and violations of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.” This is according to a Request For Case Management filed in September 2021.
As first reported by TSN’s Rick Westhead, Etherington brought forward a case against the NHLPA and Stephen Frank, the NHLPA’s former director of technology and security information technology, for an alleged “theft of more than $100,000 in union funds by one of its executives,” along with the aformentioned harassment, discrimination, and wrongful dismissal.
The issue is moving to case management based on several issues outlined in the Request For Case Management, including “substantial delay,” “complexity of the issues,” “number and types of parties,” and the “amount of intervention by the court that the proceeding is likely to require.”
One of the main aspects of the “amount of intervention” required as described in the Request For Case Management is related to the NHLPA producing investigation reports. At the upcoming proceeding, the Plaintiff is seeking these reports.
The Request For Case Management states, “To date, the NHLPA has refused the production of investigation reports on the basis that the reports are irrelevant to the litigation and are being sought for an improper purpose or as a fishing expedition; in addition, the NHLPA claims privilege over them. However, it is the Plaintiff’s position that the request for production of the investigation reports is specific and limited in scope.”
“In turn, the Plaintiff has refused production of anything related to his long-term disability application with RBC Insurance on the basis that it is irrelevant.”
The document goes on the say, “The Defendants take the position that the order in which examinations for discovery and any motion(s) for production of further documents should proceed was considered, discussed and determined at the case conference presided over by Justice Vella on September 20, 2021. In the Defendants’ view, the parties should now proceed to examinations for discovery in accordance with the endorsement of Justice Vella.”
NHLPA Senior Director of Communications Jonathan Weatherdon was contacted for this story, but declined comment on behalf of the NHLPA since this is an ongoing legal matter.
The initial Notice of Action in this issue was first filed on Oct. 11, 2019.