Columnist image
Rick Westhead

TSN Senior Correspondent

|Archive

The Chicago Blackhawks have filed a motion to dismiss Kyle Beach’s negligence lawsuit, arguing that the statute of limitations expired before the hockey player’s case was filed in court.

In their motion, filed on Nov. 30, the Blackhawks wrote that the team has a mediation session scheduled with Beach's attorney on Dec. 15 to attempt to settle the lawsuit.

The organization also said it has “undertaken a number of steps to address the facts of the Jenner report," which the Blackhawks called "troubling to say the least."

Jenner & Block is the Chicago law firm that was commissioned by the Blackhawks this summer to investigate Beach’s allegations. On Oct. 27, the firm released a report outlining how Blackhawks management and coaching staff declined to report to police sexual assault allegations against then-video coach Brad Aldrich in May 2010. 

After Aldrich quietly left the team, he was given a day with the Stanley Cup, moved between hockey jobs, and in 2013 worked as a volunteer coach in Houghton, Michigan, where he sexually assaulted a then-16-year-old player. He was sentenced to nine months in jail.

In its motion to dismiss Beach’s lawsuit, the team wrote that it has “committed to pursue a reasonable resolution of the issues raised by Mr. Beach as a moral imperative rather than a legal obligation.”

The Blackhawks argue that according to statute of limitations laws, an individual seeking damages for a personal injury has two years from the date of an injury to file a lawsuit. The only exception to that rule, the team says, is for victims of childhood sexual abuse.

Beach alleges he was assaulted by Aldrich during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, when he was 20. He filed his lawsuit in May 2021.

“Mr. Beach argues that his failure to timely file this lawsuit is excused because he repressed memories of the assault, but this claim cannot toll the statute of limitations,” the Blackhawks wrote in their motion.

“Despite the passage of more than a decade since the alleged sexual assault and repeated instances in which he dealt with consequences from the incident, Mr. Beach argues that his claims are timely because he repressed memories relating to the sexual assault until July 2019, when his memories ‘were revived by learning that Aldrich had been arrested and sentenced in a subsequent sexual assault case,’” the team wrote.

"Mr. Beach knew immediately in May 2010 that he had been assaulted; that the assault was wrongful; and that he had been harmed by it. He cannot toll the statute of limitations by claiming repressed memory."

It's unlikely that a judge will rule on the Blackhawks' motion to dismiss before the Dec. 15 settlement conference.