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Civil Litigation

Hockey player should hold his ground in abortion lawsuit: O'Connor

A professional hockey player sued for allegedly failing to pay for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion should aggressively resist the lawsuit, Toronto civil litigator Sarah O’Connor tells AdvocateDaily.com.

According to TMZ,  the woman sued for $6 million for breach of contract and other damages after she claimed the player failed to follow through on an alleged promise to pay her $3 million to abort their unborn child, and 'strung her along' after she had the procedure performed.

O’Connor, principal of O’Connor Richardson Professional Corporation, says she can understand why the player may be tempted to settle the case but holds out hope he will put up a fight in court.

“He might prefer to just make it go away, but I would tell him to not pay anything,” says O'Connor, who is not involved in the case and comments generally. “It’s a morally reprehensible lawsuit. Courts are all about the sanctity of life, and I don’t think any judge would uphold a claim like this.”

The suit, filed in a U.S. court by the woman under the alias Jane Doe, alleges the plaintiff started dating the hockey player in 2015. When she got pregnant in 2016, she alleges they both agreed she should have an abortion.

However, when she fell pregnant again in 2017, the woman alleges he pressured her into having another abortion to avoid the fallout, both professional and personal, due to a separate relationship with his "official" girlfriend, the celebrity news website says.

When the woman became pregnant a third time in May 2018, she says in her claim that she didn’t want to have another abortion, but was allegedly convinced when the player offered her $3 million to go through with it, according to TMZ.

She ultimately had her abortion in June of this year, but then sued after it became clear the player, who recently signed a seven-year, $49-million contract extension with his new NHL team, would not be stumping up.

A statement from the player and his lawyer to TMZ said the woman’s claim was “baseless both factually and legally.”

“We will aggressively defend this claim in court on (his) behalf and assert all applicable counterclaims," they added.

Even if the woman was able to provide evidence of the player’s alleged promise to pay her, O’Connor says the lawsuit is on shaky ground.  

“This woman is not coming to court with clean hands,” she says. “I’d be surprised if there is any offer made to pay a settlement, and I hope there won’t be.”

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