An Eye for an Eye, but $20 Million Is Fine, Too

  • Sumo

Basketball, by Flickr user "mvongrue", licensed via Creative Commons.There is a big difference between popping bottles and throwing bottles.  Just ask frenemies Chris Brown and Drake.  During the early morning hours of June 14, 2012, a fight broke out between the two music moguls at the über-trendy SoHo nightclub W.i.P (Work in Progress).  Theories abound about the impetus of the scuffle, with many news outlets sourcing it to Drake’s boasts about the affections of Rihanna, but one thing’s for certain: it got out of hand and some innocent celebrity bystanders were injured in the fallout.  San Antonio Spurs superstar Tony Parker found himself in the crossfire when the singers started lobbing bottles at each other.  A piece of glass lodged itself in Parker’s eye, an injury which brings his upcoming Olympic showing into question. Parker has brought a lawsuit against the owners of the club seeking damages to the tune of $20 million on the theory that the owners “should have known better” than to give Drake and Brown alcohol and sit them near each other.  Kind of like tossing a steak between two hungry dogs.

Originally, the glass was thought to have only scratched the baller’s cornea, which, while not very pleasant, is not that serious of an injury.  On his website a week later, however, Parker updated “I almost lost my eye.”  It was so serious that he had to undergo an operation to removed the glass, which had “penetrated 99 percent” into his left eye.  This lawsuit is likely a result of that new info.  Parker’s 2010 contract with the Spurs is worth $50 million over four years, with the last year unguaranteed.  Should he lose the use of his eye, he could potentially be out of a job.  After all, what basketball team would hire a half-blind point guard?  If I were him, I’d try to recoup my losses as much as I can, which Parker seems to be attempting with this lawsuit.

At first glance, the suit seems a bit tenuous.  The law doesn’t require that a business owner be apprised of the personal relationships of its customers, and fights can break out for little or no reason (Rihanna’s face-that-launched-a-thousand-bottles notwithstanding).  But the case for negligence can become stronger if Parker can prove that the owners did know and that they served the men alcohol regardless in the interest of catering to rich customers.  Considering W.i.P.’s shady legal history concerning violence and alcohol violations, I’d say Parker has a pretty good chance of at least getting a settlement.  In the meantime, the club has been shuttered after the loss of its liquor license and Parker is looking for work as a grizzly sea captain.