Eric Lindros files defamation lawsuit against former referee
Claims article contained false statements and was inaccurate
Former NHL star forward Eric Lindros has filed a lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court against former referee Paul Stewart, the Huffington Post, AOL Inc., and AOL Canada Inc., claiming he was defamed in an article published last summer.
In an amended statement of claim filed Nov. 24, Lindros claims a Huffington Post story written by Stewart, titled "Hecklers, Hooligans and the Striped-Shirted Maitre D," contained false statements and was inaccurate, untrue and defamatory in nature.
Lindros is seeking damages of $250,000, injunctions preventing publication of the article on the online news website, along with court costs.
Started off on the wrong foot
In the July 16 article, Stewart wrote he got off on the wrong foot with Lindros during the player's rookie season, saying the Flyers forward told him "(Bleep) you. Just drop the (bleeping) puck already" when he tried to make small talk during a delay in a game against New Jersey.
Before the game, according to the article, Stewart said he brought a tube filled with posters to the Flyers' equipment manager to be co-signed by Lindros and then donated to a charity auction. Stewart said in the article that after the game the equipment manager told him that when Lindros found out the posters were for Stewart, he tore every one of them up.
The court document says the statement that Lindros swore at Stewart is false, as is the claim that Lindros refused to sign the posters intended for charity auction and the claim that he tore them up. And it says these statements make Lindros out to be rude and hostile.
The statement of claim also says the July 16 article falsely states that Lindros did not want a rapport with Stewart and it alleges there are other false statements in the article.
Allegations yet to be proven
The allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.
An email message to Kenny Yum, managing editor of Huffington Post Canada, was not immediately returned. Efforts to reach Stewart for comment were unsuccessful as his voicemail box was full.
Both Yum and Stewart declined comment when contacted by TSN, which first reported the story Wednesday on its website.
Lindros's lawyer, Geoff Shaw, said he expects to receive a statement of defence in the near future.
Lindros made his NHL debut with the Flyers in 1992-'93 and went on to play for three other teams over his 15-year career. He recorded 865 points in 760 career regular-season games.
Stewart had a brief NHL career as a player before becoming a referee in 1985. He worked 1,010 career NHL regular-season games until 2003.