Last year, longtime NHL referee Paul Stewart wrote a piece for the Huffington Post which included an unflattering anecdote about former Flyer Eric Lindros.
Now, Lindros has responded.
According to TSN, Lindros has launched a $3 million defamation suit against Stewart and the Huffington Post after suffering “aggravated damages” from the piece, which his lawyers say has been republished at least 47 times by various websites.
UPDATE: Per TSN, the original amount of $3 million has been changed to $250,000 following “an amended claim that is also not in the public record.”
Lindros’s claims have not been proven in court and the Huffington Post has not filed a statement of defence. Lindros’s lawyer Geoff Shaw said in an interview that Stewart has served him with a statement of defence, although it has not yet been been added to the public court record.
In an emailed statement, Huffington Post Canada managing editor Kenny Yum wrote, “This is before our lawyers and I can’t comment.” Stewart, reached in the U.S., declined to discuss the case. “I don’t have anything to say,” he said. “I don’t have a comment.”
Lindros has asked a court to award him $2 million in general damages and another $1 million in aggravated damages. He has also asked the court for an injunction that would prevent Stewart, the Huffington Post, and its U.S. owner AOL, from continuing to publish Stewart’s allegedly defamatory statements.
In the HuffPo piece, Stewart wrote that Lindros intentionally ripped up some signed posters that were going to be donated to a charity auction after he learned the posters were for Stewart.
Stewart added that he never spoke to Lindros again following the incident.
“The statement that Lindros refused to sign posters intended for a charity auction, and more shockingly, tore them up because they were solicited by Stewart is false and makes Lindros out to be unfriendly, hostile, rude, insulting, vindictive, cruel, uncharitable and generally a despicable person,” Lindros’ legal team wrote in its pleadings.
Since retiring from the NHL in 2003, Stewart has written for a number of different platforms and currently serves a blogger with HockeyBuzz. Lindros retired in 2007 and went on to serve as NHLPA ombudsman before resigning in 2009.