By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Shooting Victim Tries To Implicate Pacman, Titans, And NFL
Several attorneys, some not involved in the case, were quick to dismiss the lawsuit as absurd, while another said it could be difficult to link the case to the Titans and NFL under Nevada law.
Tommy Urbanski was the manager at Minxx Gentleman’s Club in Las Vegas on Feb. 19 when a melee broke out inside the club minutes before the shooting outside. He was shot four times and paralyzed from the waist down. He seeks unspecified damages.
“The fact that the NFL and the Titans did not punish Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones until after Tommy was paralyzed is a proximate cause of Tommy’s injuries,” attorney Matthew Dushoff said before a news conference in suburban Las Vegas.
Jones faces two felony charges alleging that he incited a melee and threatened to kill people inside the club. But no one has been charged in the shooting itself. Jones was suspended for the 2007 season in April for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, but could be reinstated after Nov. 19.
The Titans and the NFL released statements saying they will fight the lawsuit. Jones’ attorneys, Robert Langford and Manny Arora, said their sympathies go out to Urbanski and his family but they denied that Jones had any responsibility for his injuries.
“Pacman Jones is not the shooter,” Langford said.
“No one has said that he is. There’s not one bit of evidence to link him to Mr. Urbanski’s injury.”
Arora said, “This is the equivalent of somebody suing your parents because they didn’t think you turned out right. It is like your wife suing your parents for not being a good husband â€” if they would have raised you better you would be different. There is no basis for it. … It is silly.”
Langford called the lawsuit “a Hail Mary pass.”
Victim blames NFL
Urbanski told reporters that he holds the NFL responsible for his injuries because he believes they ignored Jones’ previous run-ins with police.
Jones was arrested six times after being drafted by the Titans in April 2005.
“Even ‘three strikes and you’re out,’ and this wouldn’t have happened to me,” Urbanski said at the news conference.
“If Jones had been disciplined earlier,” Dushoff said, “more likely than not, he would not have been invited as NFL player Pacman Jones to the club.”
If Jones had offered to help Urbanski, Langford said, “someone would say he had some thing to do with his injury and we were admitting liability.”
Employment law attorney Kathy England said Nevada law could limit Urbanski’s attempts to link the case to the NFL and the Titans. State law protects employers from injury caused by an employee’s intentional conduct if the employee is on his own time, she said.
Dushoff argued that Jones was invited to the club as a representative of the NFL.
The Titans and NFL said they were sorry about Urbanski’s condition and what he and his family had been through.
“Our full response will come in court, but we will vigorously dispute the claims that have been brought against us today,” the team’s statement said.
Said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello: “We strongly disagree with any claims against the NFL and the Titans, and will respond appropriately to the court.”
2 lawyers don’t see merit
Two Nashville attorneys not involved with the lawsuit said it appeared to be without merit.
“It is like the McDonald’s lawsuit for spilling the hot coffee on the person. They sued McDonald’s for serving hot coffee — it was absurd,” attorney David Raybin said. “It is one of those nutty lawsuits. … It borders on the frivolous because Pacman’s responsible for his own deeds, for himself. The NFL and the Titans couldn’t possibly be responsible for that.”
“What they are trying to do is get into the deep pockets of the NFL or the Titans,” attorney Tommy Overton said. “But the chances of winning something like that, in my opinion, are slim to none.”
Urbanski’s suit also names the owners of Harlem Knights, a Houston strip club that rented the Minxx club in February for a party the weekend of the NBA All-Star game.
Police and prosecutors in Las Vegas allege that Jones sparked the melee inside the club when he threw cash on stage and became enraged after two dancers began scuffling over the money.
Jones is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Oct.
29 in Las Vegas on the criminal coercion charges, felonies that could bring a maximum of 12 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, but Arora said the hearing would be moved to a later date.
Jones faces civil lawsuits brought by two others shot in the fracas — Minxx bouncer Aaron Cudworth and patron Natalie Jones. Cudworth also is suing people whom he identified as members of Pacman Jones’ entourage, while Natalie Jones also names Harlem Knights in her lawsuit.