GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan upheld a $1.6 million judgment against former Detroit Red Wings forward Kevin Miller for a hit from behind during a 2000 Swiss league game that ended another player’s career.
U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist in Grand Rapids ruled in favour of a Swiss insurance company. The insurer had asked the court to recognize a Swiss court’s $1.1 million judgment, which increased to $1.6 million with interest and costs.
Quist said in Thursday’s ruling that his court was adhering to the Uniform Foreign-Country Judgments Recognition Act.
Miller’s hit on Canadian national Andrew McKim caused McKim to fall forward and strike his head on the ice. He was hospitalized for weeks with a concussion and other injuries.
Miller previously refused to pay the Swiss court’s judgment, saying he didn’t think the ruling was valid. His attorney, Douglas Donnell, didn’t respond to a phone message seeking comment left Saturday at his office by The Associated Press.
According to The Grand Rapids Press, Miller was charged in Switzerland’s Canton of Zurich in 2004 and eventually convicted of simple bodily harm, intentional bodily harm and gross negligence. The court found him completely responsible for McKim’s injuries.
A similar case is playing out in Canada, where a lawsuit is pending against Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi for a career-ending hit he laid on Colorado Avalanche centre Steve Moore in 2004, when Bertuzzi played for the Vancouver Canucks. Moore is suing Bertuzzi and the Canucks for $38 million over the hit, which left Moore with a concussion and three fractured vertebrae. The case is scheduled to go to trial in Toronto on Sept. 8.
Bertuzzi was suspended for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, which cost him about $502,000, and he didn’t play during the 2004-05 lockout season. But he was reinstated for the 2005-06 campaign and has since continued his career, most recently with Detroit.
Like Miller, Bertuzzi also faced criminal charges over the on-ice incident. He pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and was sentenced in 2006 to a year of probation and 80 hours of community service.