DENVER – A lawsuit filed against Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi (search) over his brutal hit on former Avalanche forward Steve Moore was tossed out Thursday by a judge who said the case has no standing in Colorado.
Judge Shelley Gilman (search) agreed with attorneys for Bertuzzi and others that any case would be better handled in Canada, where the hit occurred last year.
"It is highly likely that Colorado law will not apply to most, if not all, of Moore's claims," Gilman wrote. "British Columbia bears the most significant relationship to Moore's claims."
Moore hasn't played since the March 8, 2004, game when Bertuzzi grabbed him from behind, punched him in the head and drove his head into the ice during a game in Vancouver (search). Moore sustained three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a concussion and other injuries.
Moore was seeking unspecified damages from the Canucks, Bertuzzi, coach Marc Crawford, former general manager Brian Burke and others. His attorneys did not immediately return a call.
Moore's attorneys had argued that he was a Colorado resident when he was injured and when he filed the suit, giving him the right to seek damages in a Colorado court. They also said events leading to Bertuzzi's hit started during a game in Denver on Feb. 16, 2004, when Moore hit Canucks captain Markus Naslund, leaving him with a concussion.
After the February game, Bertuzzi, Canucks player Brad May — who signed with the Avalanche this summer — Crawford and Burke met in Denver and planned Bertuzzi's hit as retaliation, according to Lee Foreman, Moore's attorney. The lawsuit accused Bertuzzi and the other defendants of civil conspiracy, assault, battery and negligence.
Bertuzzi faced up to 18 months in prison after Vancouver authorities charged him with assault. He pleaded guilty and was then sentenced to probation and community service.
Bertuzzi was reinstated to the NHL in August after being indefinitely suspended and missing 13 regular-season games and the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2004, losing about $502,000 in salary. He is to earn about $5.2 million this season.
Moore is an unrestricted free agent, but he has said the Avalanche plan to sign him to a new contract once doctors clear him to play again.