Bertuzzi drops lawsuit against Crawford

Todd Bertuzzi has dropped his third-party lawsuit against former coach Marc Crawford, CBC News has learned.
Todd Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Calgary Flames last November. Bertuzzi has dropped his 3rd party lawsuit against his former coach, Marc Crawford. (Gregy Shamus/Getty Images)

Todd Bertuzzi has dropped his third-party lawsuit against a former coach, CBC News has learned.

Bertuzzi filed court papers in 2008 claiming that the negligence of former Vancouver Canucks head coach Marc Crawford contributed to Bertuzzi's infamous sucker punch of Steve Moore in March 2004.  

Bertuzzi's punch left Moore with three broken vertebrae in his neck and a concussion. Moore hasn't played since, and is suing Bertuzzi and Orca Bay, the parent company of the Vancouver Canucks, for about $38 million. Crawford is not named as a defendant in Moore's suit.  

Now, Moore's lawyer wants to know what prompted Bertuzzi to drop his lawsuit against Crawford.  

"Hypothetically speaking, and by analogy, if the jury awarded $25 million, but there is an agreement that says we'll take care of $20 million, that would be highly relevant," lawyer Tim Danson said in Ontario Superior Court of Justice Tuesday in Toronto.  

Geoff Adair, Bertuzzi's lawyer, refused to confirm or deny there is any such agreement between his client and the Vancouver Canucks. Crawford's liability falls to the Canucks as he was their employee at the time.  

"Anything we have agreed to with Vancouver is privileged," Adair said in court. "We're not disclosing anything." 

But Superior Court Justice Master Ronald Dash offered a scenario that seemed to change Adair's thinking.  

"If there was an agreement," speculated Dash, "then the trial judge might want to limit Bertuzzi's cross-examination of Crawford."  

After that exchange, Adair softened his position, asking for more time to "reflect" on it.  

The lawyer for Orca Bay agreed.  

"We rely on Mr. Adair's submissions. If he wants to reflect, then we'll reflect too," said Ellen Snow.  

Dash gave the lawyers until Jan. 23 to reflect on their positions. He ordered any agreement between Bertuzzi, Crawford and the Vancouver Canucks to be presented to him for inspection at that time.  

None of the lawyers would answer questions outside of the courtroom.