During a secret meeting last December, lawyers for NHL player Todd Bertuzzi offered $350,000 to settle a $15 million lawsuit filed by Steve Moore, the former player whose neck Bertuzzi broke in an on-ice attack that roiled the league, according to court documents.
One of the documents, a March 29, 2007 letter to Bertuzzi’s lawyer Geoffrey Adair from Moore’s lawyer Tim Danson, is labelled “strictly personal and confidential” and appears to have been filed as a public document by mistake. The letter was included as an exhibit to a motion filed by Orca Bay, the Vancouver company that owns the Canucks.
“On July 31, 2006, you sat in my office and queried whether Mr. Bertuzzi could settle this case for $1 million,” Danson wrote.
“We said no. True it was not an actual offer to settle for $1 million, but since it was a good-faith settlement meeting, it did strongly imply a starting point for Mr. Bertuzzi, albeing exceptionally low.
“We did not take the view that you were playing games.
“To then receive a joint offer from Mr. Bertuzzi and Orca Bay in New York for $350,000 was quite a shock and certainly sent out all the wrong messages,” Danson wrote.
The lawyer’s letter also described the tension at a December 2006 settlement meeting in New York hosted by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his top lieutenant, Bill Daly.
“In the context of everyone meeting in good faith, I entered the boardroom and extended my hand to everyone there,” Danson wrote. “Your client refused to shake my hand and effectively turned his back on me …
“I was shocked by such disrespect. I then turned to everyone and said with enormous disappointment, `What’s this “ what a great way to start the meeting.’ I was met with complete silence.”
The meeting, Danson wrote, was “a complete waste of time.” Bertuzzi’s offer “was calculated to be an insult and was an insult.”