Tim Hague's family and lawyers discuss lawsuit: 'This fight never should have happened'
Three members of Tim Hague’s family appeared alongside two injury lawyers on Monday, explaining a lawsuit filed in the wake of the fighter’s death.
“This fight should never have taken place,” lawyer Norm Assiff said. “You will learn throughout this litigation, that there were multiple errors… It’s not a ‘hindsight is 20/20’ scenario. This fight should never have taken place. It’s clear. Our investigations have shown that.
“It’s unfortunate nobody’s taken responsibility yet but somebody will, at the end of the day.”
Hague passed away a few days after a June 16, 2017 boxing match at what is now the Edmonton Convention Centre.
On June 7, a lawsuit was filed against the City of Edmonton claiming gross negligence. The statement of claim names the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission and several people involved in the fight.
Ian Hague, Tim’s brother, read a statement on Monday, explaining how he texted Tim before his fight and asked him to let him know how it went. Ian couldn’t be there in person because he had a funeral that day.
“The day went on and into the evening and no message or call from Tim. I figured he had just got into the swing of things, as sometimes he did, and forgot to message me. I went home, went to bed and woke up to a barrage of messages and phone calls. Tim had been hurt bad and I was to get to the Royal Alex Hospital.”
Ian rushed to the hospital with his parents, sister and sister-in-law. When they arrived, Tim had come out of surgery. His head was bandaged up and he was hooked up to a breathing machine.
“Saturday morning, the doctor came in to update us. Tim had taken one or more blows to the head to induce a hemorrhage on the left side of his brain and it had damaged his brain,” Ian said. “They do not know if it will heal and we are to wait to see what the coming days will bring.”
Ian explained the family expected a long recovery but didn’t think the prognosis would be as bad as it was.
“Sunday morning they take Tim for another scan of his brain. We hope for good news. At 9:30 a.m. Sunday, the doctor comes into update us. Almost half of Tim’s brain is dead.
“We get the news we had all been dreading. Tim will not come out of this.”
As a family, they decide to take him off the breathing machine, Ian said. Tim passed away surrounded by family and as his favourite music played.
Watch below (June 26, 2017): Tim Hague was remembered on Monday as a father, a fighter and a teacher. The Alberta boxer died shortly after his last fight. Vinesh Pratap has more.
Then, weeks after Tim’s death, the family starts getting texts, emails and phone calls with details from the fight, Ian said.
“Infuriating information that makes us think maybe this could have been prevented after all and maybe we should get a lawyer.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court. Assiff anticipates this could lead to a 30-day trial.
“Our hope with this lawsuit is that it will act as a catalyst for change for the combative sports landscape in Edmonton,” lawyer Ari Schacter said.
“The hope is that this lawsuit will force people to think about Tim Hague and ensure something similar does not happen ever again.”
He said all parties named in the lawsuit are currently being served, statements of defence are being requested and the litigation process is starting.
David Aitken, the City of Edmonton’s branch manager of community standards and neighbourhoods, said Monday the city is aware that a statement of claim has been filed with the courts and its law branch will review it and then file its response.
“The statement of claim was anticipated,” he said. “It doesn’t change that terrible, tragic and unfortunate event. Certainly, our sympathies go out to the Hague family.”
In December 2017, a third-party report looking into the death of the fighter, who was also a father and a teacher, made 18 recommendations, including that a provincial commission be created to oversee combative sports in Alberta.
Watch below (Dec. 14, 2017): An independent report looking into the June death of Tim Hague after a fighting event in Edmonton has found some rules weren’t followed. Vinesh Pratap reports.
That same month, Edmonton City Council put a moratorium on combative sports in place that was eventually lifted in February 2018.
Schacter believes there was a series of breakdowns on various levels that led to Hague’s fatal match.
“I think there should be an overseeing body that’s not controlled municipally,” he added. “I think there should be a provincial agency that has better oversight of combative sports throughout Alberta so fights are properly recorded and something like this never happens again.”
Jackie Neil (Tim’s sister), Brianne Hague (Tim’s widow), Norm Assiff (lawyer), Ian Hague (Tim’s brother), and Ari Schacter (lawyer) speak about the lawsuit on June 17, 2019.Morris Gamblin, Global News
Tim’s sister Jackie, and Brianne, his widow and mother of his son Brady, were also at Monday’s availability but neither chose to speak.
Assiff said Brady, who’s now 10, continues to receive counselling to cope with his father’s death.
“It’s been tough,” Ian said, about the years since Tim died. “Anybody that’s lost a loved one as close as a brother or a son or a husband, it’s not easy to talk about.
“My main concern is for Brady, of course. I don’t know what he’s gone through but … it’s tough.
“I know what you’re all thinking: ‘Why didn’t you just tell him to stop?’ Trust me, we did. Anyone that knows Tim probably told him towards the end, ‘Maybe it’s time to hang them up for good.’ This [legal action] will give Brady some comfort in the coming years — some comfort that his father will not be here to give him.”