|Paralyzed Vegas club manager suing "Pacman" Jones, NFL, Titans|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 19 October 2007 12:54|
Former professional wrestler Tommy Urbanski seeks unspecified damages in the lawsuit filed Friday in Clark County District Court. It also names the owners of Harlem Knights, a Houston strip club that rented the Minxx Gentleman's Club in Las Vegas in February for a party the weekend of the NBA All-Star game.
``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 at a Henderson hotel with Urbanski and his wife, Kathleen.
Jones' attorney, Robert Langford, denied the troubled cornerback had any responsibility for the man's injuries.
``There's no basis in fact for suing the NFL and the Titans,'' Langford said.
Jones faces two felony charges alleging he incited a melee and threatened to kill people inside the club minutes before the shooting outside. No one has been charged in the shooting.
Jones was suspended for the 2007 season in April for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
``From my heart, I feel bad for this guy and his family,'' Langford told The Associated Press. ``But Pacman Jones is not the shooter. No one has said that he is. There's not one bit of evidence to link him to Mr. Urbanski's injury.''
Urbanski was shot four times and was left paralyzed from the waist down in the Feb. 19 shooting. He spent several months rehabilitating at a Denver hospital before moving in August to a hotel in Henderson because his house hasn't been outfitted to accommodate a wheelchair.
Urbanski told reporters he holds the NFL responsible for his injuries because he believed they ignored Jones' previous run-ins with police.
``Even, 'Three strikes and you're out,' and this wouldn't have happened to me,'' Urbanski said at a news conference with his schoolteacher wife.
Jones was arrested six times after being drafted by the Titans with the sixth pick overall in April 2005. After his arrest in Las Vegas, he was suspended by the NFL but he could be reinstated after Nov. 19.
``We've done our homework on this. If Jones had been disciplined earlier, more likely than not, he would not have been invited as NFL player Pacman Jones to the club,'' Dushoff said.
Langford said that if Jones offered to help Urbanski, ``someone would say he had something to do with his injury and we were admitting liability.''
``So we're stuck in a situation where we express our sympathy and go to court,'' Jones' lawyer said.
The NFL and the Titans also said they would fight the lawsuit. Harlem Knights representatives in Houston didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
``We have great sympathy for Tommy and Kathy, but we strongly disagree with any claims against the NFL and the Titans and will respond appropriately to the court,'' NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
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 argues Jones was invited to the club as a representative of the NFL.
Police and prosecutors in Las Vegas allege Jones sparked the melee inside the club when he threw cash on stage, an act dubbed ``making it rain,'' and became enraged after two dancers began scuffling over the money.
Jones also faces two other civil lawsuits in the fracas, and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Oct. 29 in Las Vegas on criminal coercion charges that could bring a maximum of 12 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Urbanski's lawsuit alleges assault, battery, emotional distress, conspiracy and negligence, and claims Urbanski's injuries were caused by the actions of Jones and unnamed others ``within the scope of their employment'' with the NFL and the Titans.
It says Harlem Knights invited Jones to the club and gave him VIP treatment ``because Jones is a prominent NFL football player.''
``The NFL and the Titans had the authority and the duty to discipline Jones for conduct on or off the field that was detrimental to the Titans and/or the NFL,'' according to the suit.
Two other people shot, Minxx club bouncer Aaron Cudworth and patron Natalie Jones, have sued the Titans' cornerback. Cudworth also is suing people he identified as members of Pacman Jones' entourage, while Natalie Jones also names Harlem Nights in her lawsuit.
AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn., and Associated Press Writer Kathleen Hennessey in Las Vegas contributed to this report.