The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/20/12 at 06:30 PM ET
Via RedWingsFeed, the Detroit Free Press’s David Ashenfelter reports that Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray was found not at monetary fault for injuries suffered by a Joe Louis Arena broadcaster during an incident in 2009—based upon a screw-up by the plaintiff’s former attorney:
A federal court jury this afternoon refused to award monetary damages to a woman who said Anaheim Ducks’ General Manager Bob Murray assaulted her with a chair at Joe Louis Arena when the Red Wings knocked the Ducks out of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs.
“I’m sorry beyond words,” Rachel Paris said outside the federal courthouse in Detroit after the eight-member jury deliberated for 45 minutes before concluding that Murray hadn’t assaulted her. She said the injuries she suffered in the episode “wiped out my life.”
Jurors told the Free Press they wanted to award damages to Paris because they thought she was injured in the incident. But they said they couldn’t do that without first concluding that Murray had intentionally assaulted Paris. They said many of the jurors felt her injuries were the result of an accident, not an assault.
Paris’ lawyers, Mayer Morganroth and Daniel Harold of Birmingham, said they were handicapped by decisions made by Paris’ previous lawyer, who withdrew from the case late last year. They said he failed to include a negligence count in the lawsuit, which would have enabled the jury to award damages to Paris even if they disagreed about whether Murray assaulted her.
“What lawyer doesn’t put a negligence claim in a lawsuit like this?” Morganroth said.
Paris was a stage manager who assisted sports broadcasters at the arena. She said in her lawsuit that Murray attacked her in a fit of rage, upset that his team has just lost a big game. Murray disputed that, saying he merely pushed aside two heavy chairs in the narrow press box in his rush to get to the team dressing room to console his players about the loss to the Wings. Although witnesses saw Paris get hit by a chair, no one testified that they saw Murray attack her. Paris said she was knocked against a wall in the narrow press box and fell to the floor after getting hit, leaving her with a debilitating shoulder injury and other problems.
The lawyer for Murray and the Ducks — Steven Potter of Auburn Hills — said he was pleased with the verdict: “I predicted that the jury would make the right decision and they did.
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