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Elliott, O'Dwyer sued in bar melee
Posted: Tuesday July 27, 1999 01:04 PM
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) -- New York Jets offensive lineman Jumbo Elliott and ex-Jet Matt O'Dwyer, now with the Cincinnati Bengals, are being sued for $6.3 million because of a barroom brawl earlier this month.
Three police officers and two people who were in the bar are suing, saying they were injured.
"These people are accustomed to using their brute strength for football," attorney Lawrence Elovich said of players. "When they misbehave on the field they get a penalty. This time, it's going to cost them a lot more."
He filed the suit Monday in state Supreme Court in Nassau County.
It seeks $1.3 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages against O'Dwyer and Elliott, according to Elovich.
Jason Fabini of the Jets, the third football player arrested in the melee at Bogart's bar in Long Beach, was not named in the lawsuit because "he in no way contributed to the injuries sustained by my five clients," Elovich said.
Police said the three football players were arrested after Elliott urinated in the sink of a women's bathroom and punched two bar patrons and O'Dwyer kicked out a police car window as he was being arrested.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Long Beach police officers John O'Sullivan and Dean Burke, Nassau County police officer Anthony Rivelli and the other two people, Michael Conradis and Christine Bonsignore.
The lawyer said O'Sullivan, Burke and Rivelli suffered what may be permanent eye damage from flying glass. Rivelli also suffered back and hip injuries after being kicked and knocked down by O'Dwyer, Elovich said.
The suit also charged that the 308-pound Elliott punched 18-year-old Bonsignore in the chest, leaving her with nerve damage to her chest and back. Elovich said Conradis suffered jaw damage and was unable to open his mouth for 10 days after being punched in the face by Elliott.
"I believe that along with the fame, adulation, and huge financial rewards of being a professional football player comes the concomitant responsibility not to use their enormous strength to injure the public," Elovich said.
"It was expected," Elliott's attorney Brian Davis said of the lawsuit. "The day after the incident they were in the attorney's office looking for a pay day." Lawyers for the players have 20 days to respond to the civil charges.
O'Dwyer, who signed a two-year, $2.7 million contract with Cincinnati last month, faces felony assault, harassment and criminal mischief charges. Elliott was charged with misdemeanor assault, harassment and public lewdness. Fabini was charged with disorderly conduct.
All three have pleaded innocent and are free on bail. Their next court appearance in Long Beach City Court was scheduled for Sept. 13.
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