The Corporation of Delta and Delta Police Chief Jim Cessford are being sued by the B.C. government in connection with a bar fight in North Delta that put a former NHL player in a coma.
The civil lawsuit, filed Wednesday, says Garrett Burnett, who played for the Anaheim Ducks in 2003-04, was hit over the head with a bar stool in a fight at Cheers Nightclub on Boxing Day 2006.
The assault left the 6’3″, 235-pound Burnett on life support and in a coma for about two weeks. His nose and other bones in his face were broken, his teeth chipped, and according to the suit, the incident has left him partially disabled and suffering from a sleep disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The B.C. government is suing to recover the cost of Burnett’s past and future health care.
Bar management and employees, and Burnett’s unidentified assailants are also named as defendants in the suit, as are two Delta Police officers – Const. Paul Uppal and Insp. Lorne Pike.
The suit accuses the police department of bungling the investigation into the assault, losing video surveillance and a hard drive containing other evidence. No one was ever charged in the attack.
It’s also claimed that police were called to respond to fights at Cheers on “several thousand occasions” before 2006, and accuses the department of not warning the public and the licensing authority about the dangers there.
The bar’s staff and owner are accused of not properly alerting emergency responders and not having a proper system for monitoring alcohol consumption.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
After the attack, Burnett sued the staff and management of the bar, but that matter was settled out of court earlier this year. He also filed suit against the Delta Police Department and the Corporation of Delta, but a judgment has yet to come down in that case.
Prior to his hockey career, Burnett was a lacrosse player with the New Westminster Salmonbellies and the Coquitlam Adanacs.
– with files from CTV