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Blackhawks' fan hit by puck at playoffs game prepping for potential shot at lawsuit

By Bethany Krajelis | Jul 11, 2014

A Chicago Blackhawks’ fan who claims he sustained neurological injuries after a puck hit him in the head at a Stanley Cup Playoff game appears to be looking into filing a lawsuit, but wants some more information so he can aim it in the right direction.

Attorneys for Gerald and Michelle Green filed a petition for pre-suit discovery Thursday in the Cook County Court, seeking permission for the issuance of a summons in order to identify those potentially responsible for his injuries.

Gerald was “struck in the head by a puck traveling at high velocity” during a May 2 Hawk's game, according to the petition, which notes he was sitting in the ninth row of section 119 at the United Center.

That game marked the Blackhawk’s first meeting with the Minnesota Wild in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Hawks won that game and series, before losing in the Western Conference finals to the Los Angeles Kings, who went on to nab the 2014 title.

The May 2 incident allegedly left Gerald with “severe neurological injury.” A May 7 post on NBC’s website states “Green’s family confirmed he spent several days in the intensive care unit at Rush University Medical Center where he was being treated for a fractured skull.”

If the recently-filed court document is any indication, attorneys for the Greens are looking to target a potential suit at those associated with the netting at the arena that is intended to deflect flying pucks.

The Greens’ petition seeks pre-suit discovery from the Blackhawks Hockey Team Inc., the United Center Joint Venture and the National Hockey League to identify  "persons and entities involved in and documents pertaining to the design, manufacture, assembly, installation, testing, positioning and sale of the netting hung in the United Center to prevent injuries to fans like Gerald.”

They specifically want the trio to provide them with the following information:

  • Work orders, service requests and maintenance logs, as well as any related documents, for the netting since its installation;

  • documents identifying and describing the duties and tasks of those responsible for maintaining the netting;

  • building surveillance footage capturing the May 2 incident;

  • identification individuals and entities, including contractors, involved in the design, construction and/or decision-making regarding the placement or size or the netting;

  • copies of contracts containing provisions about the netting, its repair, maintenance, size or placement, and liability and/or indemnification;

  • all documents, including internal emails and memos, about the May 2 incident;

  • documents dealing with any analysis or assestment of the netting's size or placement;

  • and any reports or documentation about incidents in which individuals were hit by pucks at the United Center since the netting was first installed.

The Greens also asked for depositions of individuals who are currently unknown, but related to the topics mentioned in the documents they requested.

In addition to seeking a judge's permission to issue summons against the Hawks, United Center and NHL before filing a suit, the Greens want the court to set a hearing within 14 days of the summons’ issuance.

As of late Friday afternoon, it was unclear whether the pre-suit discovery petition was granted or even assigned to a judge.

Chicago attorneys Bob Clifford, Colin Dunn and Kristofer Riddle of Clifford Law Offices filed the petition on the Greens' behalf.

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