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U.S. judge rules former Canucks owner can be subpoenaed in Bertuzzi lawsuit

Steve Moore of the NHL team the Colorado Avalanche is surrounded by reporters after leaving NHL headquarters in New York, April 26, 2005.

MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Lawyers for former NHL player Steve Moore took another step Wednesday toward forcing former Vancouver Canucks owner John McCaw Jr. to testify in Moore's lawsuit that seeks more than $38-million in damages from the Canucks and one of their former players, Todd Bertuzzi.

Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington agreed with a ruling from the Ontario Superior Court that McCaw has material evidence to give on the issues of corporate negligence, vicarious liability and punitive damages. Judge Lasnik granted leave to Moore to issue a subpoena forcing McCaw to testify.

It is not clear if this means McCaw must travel from his home in Seattle to testify at the trial in Toronto, which is expected to begin in September. The Ontario court ruling called for McCaw to "attend at a suitable location in the State of Washington to be examined at trial," via video conferencing.

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The trial will come more than 10 years after Bertuzzi attacked Moore, who then played for the Colorado Avalanche, in retaliation for a weeks-earlier hit on Canucks star Markus Naslund. Bertuzzi jumped Moore from behind during a game on March 8, 2004, and left him with a severe concussion and three broken vertebrae in his neck – injuries which ended his NHL career.

Bertuzzi later pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and was placed on probation. He was also briefly suspended by the NHL, but remains in the league as a player for the Detroit Red Wings.

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