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Thursday, July 05, 2007
Closing Arguments in Allen Iverson's Trial

Closing arguments will occur later today in a lawsuit against Denver Nuggets star Allen Iverson regarding whether he was negligent for members of his security team allegedly injuring two men in a fight that occurred in 2005 at the Eyebar Lounge, a trendy nightclub, pictured below to the right, that is located in Northwest D.C. (and is somewhat near Iverson's alma mater, Georgetown University).

The fight originates from when the two plaintiffs, Marlin Godfrey and David Anthony Kittrell, both 37-year-old Maryland residents, were sitting in VIP seats reserved for Iverson and other persons. Iverson's security detail asked Godfrey and Kittrell to move and they refused, which led to an argument, and then shoving and more ensued. The plaintiffs claim they suffered various injuries at the hands of Iverson's security guards, including emotional distress and a torn rotator cuff.

Now they are suing Iverson for $20 million, alleging that he was negligent in how he instructed his security detail to behave. Iverson has testified that he was not anywhere near the fight; he was in another part of the bar at the time. The case is being tried before U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs have tried several quixotic arguments against Iverson, including an attempt to compel rap star 50 Cent to testify as a character witness against him (Judge Huvelle rejected the attempt for, among many other reasons, the lack of jurisdiction over 50 Cent since he lived over 100 miles away).

I can't speak to the merits of the plaintiffs' claims, but assuming they are not meritorious and instead reflect an attempt to go after a deep pocket--better known as a "money grab"--I applaud Iverson and his attorneys, Alan Milstein and Billy Martin, for not settling. I'm sure it was very tempting to settle this case and simply pay off the plaintiffs to go away--especially considering how much time and energy a case like this requires from Iverson. But they choose to fight instead.

And this is pure speculation on my part, but I suspect that Iverson's resolve relates to frustration over being a victim of perception. By that I mean he's often criticized for the tattoos, rap music, and other lifestyle interests that don't appeal to a lot of Americans, some of whom seem to crave associating him with the "gangsta/thug" lifestyle whenever possible. As a result, whenever Iverson is near a potential civil claim, an opportunistic plaintiff likely sees an appealing target: a "bad guy" who is really rich.

Along those lines, maybe if we heard more about the less noted, more admirable sides of Iverson--a father of two who married his high school sweetheart, a celebrity who has clearly not forgotten about all the folks who helped him earlier in life, and a true warrior on the court--he would be viewed more as a "good guy" and thus be less of any easy target. That's not to say he's never messed up in life, as he clearly has at times (as have we all), but I can see why he would be easy prey for those among us who like to bring lawsuits, and I wonder to what extent public perception has fueled that.


They were in the VIP. Emotional distress? And $20 million worth of it? Either they're lying money grabbers or they're tremendous pussies. Either way they don't deserve a dime.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/05/2007 4:31 PM's time for Chuck to slow it down a bit now. He has had his narrow escapes from this type of public BS before. Fall back champ, otherwise continue to be a target. It's a shame to say it but if you put yourself in that position, crazy things can potentially continue to come about.

Blogger Reek -- 7/05/2007 4:45 PM  

It is time for these ballplayers to stop hanging out at these clubs and start hanging with their families.

Blogger kiman -- 7/05/2007 4:55 PM  

He is a good guy people need to leave him alone. He was real enough to marry his high school sweetheart.How many ball players will do that.

Blogger kiman -- 7/05/2007 4:56 PM  

This is not a case purely about money. Im sure that a good part of it is, but really, when you employ bodyguards to "protect" you, then why are they being abusive because poor Allen cant get his seat in "VIP" They should have asked management to remove the parties, if in fact it was a trictly "Allen Iverson" seat. But No, they took it in to their own hands, and created a situation that should leave Mr. Iverson liable. But is humiliation worth 20 Million? NO! A torn rotator cuff, might be worth something, for the pain and suffering, and the possible loss of wages due to this injury.
When a celebrity hires people to protect them against the public, then they will need to take on the actions of that employee, just as I do for my business, when he or she is on my time!

Iverson Fan

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/05/2007 7:02 PM  

I call BS! Not because it's Iverson, but because I am tired of people thinking it's okay to go and sue others for these rediculous amounts of money just because. Let's call it what it is, they were in a fight at a How many times have you heard about fights at bars and clubs? The majority of the time people don't go sueing for $20 million dollars. And emotional distress? LOL! Please spare me. Why should we beleive that Iversons bodygaurds just went up and started beating up these guys for no apperent reason? Because THEY say so? That doesn't make any sense. Why would he even put himself in that situation?

They were more then likely asked to move, got up talking crazy and instigated even more and got their head busted. PERIOD. Now they are humiliated and want to sit pretty the rest of their life. That could just as simply be the case as well. They went through all this, busted eardrum and what not, and two years of theorpy, yet there was NO charges pressed against the gaurds when this all happened? They need to go get a life and quit trying to use this as an opportunity to get a ROLLS ROYCE and some BLING. If I was A.I, I would bust them in the head on the way out the courtroom just for wasting my time. God bless you A.I!

Anonymous AIforLIFE -- 7/05/2007 11:12 PM  

I wonder if people would dismiss this if the amount of money claimed was considerably less? 20 million is ridiculous.

But Iverson has got to be responsible to some extent for what his security personnel is doing - there are loads of vicarious liability cases where we can search for legal answers to this.

This has money grabbing written all over it but if it were not for the ludicrous amount of money, it could actually be used to question this sort of "security" stars are surrounded with.

Blogger Luis Cassiano Neves -- 7/06/2007 5:50 AM  

I agree with a previous response. Why dont these fools get jobs and quit trying to get rich quick. I am sick and tired of pro athletes being sued just because they are rich. These idiots dont deserve anything. Tying up the legal system with stupid law suits like this makes me sick. What a crock of crap.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/06/2007 10:40 AM  

I know both of these guys and I doubt that this is a case of money grabbing. They got their asses kicked. They both have huge ego's and they probally feel like this is the only way to overcome the embarassment of the beating. They cant see that it is a ludicrous amount of money...but if they get it I will call

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/06/2007 1:32 PM  

As a Philly native, I have witnessed Iverson's "bodyguards" treating other patrons of public venues very rudely, for example, preventing people from walking past "his" pool table, or preventing a 10 year-old from asking for an autograph. More annoying was the time I had to wait 15 minutes to use the men's room at a club while Iverson (the loving family man) was getting a blowjow inside and his "bodyguards" were preventing anyone from entering. True class. I say "guilty as charged".

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/06/2007 3:48 PM  

Wait an either one of these guys the same one who wanted $54 million because the laundromat ruined his pants? gotta love D.C.!!

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/06/2007 4:31 PM  

I don't care what anyone say's, $20 million dollars is over the top. I don't care how bruised your ego is. To the poster that said that they know these guys, then maybe you should have told them to be a little wiser about their "lawsuit". They didn't count on Iversons lawyers taking this to the courtroom. They thought that they were going to get a quick check and settle out. I hope they don't get one red dime. You mentioned they had ego's, which could have led to them getting their ass kicked. I'm sure they or their friends have been in fights before and they haven't gone suing for $20 million. And I could also bet that they have seen a fight or watch a friend in one, did they get sued for watching as they are sueing Allen Iverson for? And please know that if by some act of injustice they do win, the judge will more then likely award them hospital fee's and minor pain and suffering, shouldn't be nomore then $100,000 for those losers. And anonymous @7/6/07 3:48 p.m. It sounds like your more upset at waiting for the bathroom 15 minutes then actually looking at this case for what it is. I don't care what Iverson does in his personal life, no one deserves getting taken advantage of. You fans in Philidelphia are so bitter. I'm so happy for him that he got out of there. lol

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/06/2007 7:28 PM  

Well it is over and one received $250,000 + $10,000 for medical bills. Fair? Maybe. I think the jury could have thrown in another Million for punitive damage. All those who say the two guys were just greedy. You are wrong, don't forget that it is the lawyer that filed the the amount. I think that a point was made...Mr. Iverson was wrong in every way and many ways lucked out once more. If he is not careful one of these days someone may end up dead or paralysed then he will lose a lot more than $20 million.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/24/2007 2:38 PM  

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