Tuesday , Jul , 10 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Denver Guard Allen Iverson To Appeal $260K Lawsuit; Will Athletes Become Less Vulnerable?

A jury has ruled that Iverson has to pay $260, 000 to a plaintiff after a bar brawl in Washington … However, The Answer is appealing the decision, claiming he’s a target .. Are athletes vulnerable? … Click here for news and analysis on this story …

The Associated Press updates the Allen Iverson lawsuit:

A federal jury awarded $260,000 on Monday to one of two men who sued NBA star Allen Iverson after they said they were beaten by his entourage at a Washington nightclub in 2005.

The jury’s decision against Iverson and his bodyguard, Jason Kane, covers bar patron Marlin Godfrey’s medical bills and pain and suffering. But the jury chose not to award punitive damages, which could have significantly raised the damage award.

Godfrey and another patron, David Anthony Kittrell, sued the Denver Nuggets guard for $20 million, saying they were beaten by his entourage in July 2005. The attacks, they said, followed their refusal to vacate the Eyebar club’s VIP section for Iverson.

Iverson testified last week that he didn’t see the fight, and was whisked out of the club before the brawl became serious. He said the two men suing him were merely trying to cash in on his fame and fortune. Iverson’s 90-minute testimony was the only court appearance he made during the case.

The nine-member jury in U.S. District Court deliberated for about 13 hours over three days before reaching its verdict.

The jury found that Kane was liable for assault and battery of Godfrey, who was awarded $250,000 for pain and suffering and $10,000 for his medical bills. Iverson was found negligent for failing to supervise Kane. The jury did not find either of the men liable for assaulting Kittrell.

Attorneys for Iverson and Kane said they were disappointed and planned an appeal. Iverson lawyer Alan Milstein also said the NBA player’s absence from the trial was not a reflection of his opinion of the court case, an argument frequently made by the plaintiffs.

My Quick Take: Iverson has money. He could have settled this lawsuit out of court and avoided the hassle and headlines. But Iverson believed the plaintiffs were trying to manipulate his celebrity status, so he fought the case. You have to respect ‘The Answer’ for doing what he feels is right.

On a night when Antoine Walker was the victim of a home invasion, it’s important to touch on the larger issue-athletes are targets. It doesn’t matter where. They’re vulnerable at nightspots and they’re vulnerable at home. 

Consider how the Iverson case has become tabloid fodder. The plaintiffs wanted to call 50 cent as a witness. Apparently, the rapper had used the same security company involved in the lawsuit and would be able to offer some insight. 

The judge excused 50 cent from testifying. But jurors did watch an episode of  the MTV prank show "Punk’D", where Iverson was setup as part of a practical joke.

I’m not sure how rap music and blooper television are relevant-other then helping the desperate plaintiffs receive a payday. Iverson, however, is fighting back. He’s appealing the jury’s settlement. Hopefully, this will help athletes become a little less vulnerable.

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Article updated July 9 2007.