Davis sues over 1993 brawl in Va.

June 05, 1995|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Sun Staff Writer

His days as a major-league slugger may be over, but Glenn Davis is seeking one more giant payday.

Davis, an ex-Orioles first baseman who is playing in Japan, is suing the owners of a defunct Virginia nightclub and the club's bouncer for $5.35 million. The lawsuit, filed last month in federal court, accuses Club Rogues and bouncer Samuel C. Hampton of assault and battery, negligence and negligent training and supervision.

Hampton, 27, is a professional boxer who's scheduled to fight in Baltimore tomorrow night.

The lawsuit stems from a brawl outside the Virginia bar two years ago. During the fight, in June 1993, Hampton twice punched Davis in the face. A judge acquitted the boxer of assault charges after hearing conflicting testimony over who started the fracas.

In his civil suit, Davis, 34, is asking for $5 million in general damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.

His lawyer said Davis hasn't recovered from the fight, in which he suffered a broken jaw.

"Most of the problems have cleared up, but he still has plates and screws in his jaw," said the attorney, David Zobel. "There's a loss of feeling in his lower lip. He has some nerve root problems with his front teeth."

Hampton could not be reached for comment in the past week. John Trapp, a lawyer who handles Hampton's boxing matters, said: "The facts will vindicate Mr. Hampton of any wrongdoing, as they did in the criminal [proceeding]."

To receive seven-figure damages, Davis will have to persuade a jury that Hampton's actions doomed his baseball career. That might not be easy.

At the time of the fight, Davis had a $3.75 million contract with the Orioles. That dropped precipitously when the team didn't re-sign him, and Davis settled for a $40,000 minor-league salary last year. He currently is playing in Japan.

But Davis' career was slipping as early as 1991, his first season with the Orioles. He was sidelined most of that season with a neck injury, managing only 10 home runs. More injuries limited him to 109 games the following year. In 1993, the Orioles demoted Davis to the Rochester Red Wings, their Triple-A affiliate. The fight occurred after a Rochester game against the Norfolk Tides.

The dispute began about 1 a.m. on June 7, 1993, when Davis and two teammates were leaving the bar. Several bar employees complained that a few customers were becoming loud and obnoxious.

At Hampton's trial, Davis testified that one of his teammates had been wrestled to the ground and he was trying to intervene. But Hampton testified that Davis threatened him first.

A judge acquitted Hampton of criminal charges after hearing six versions of the fight from six witnesses. The judge ruled there was a reasonable doubt about Hampton's guilt.

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