In 2005, Memphis Grizzlies’ fan Bill Geeslin was sitting courtside when he found himself in the path of L.A. Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, who was diving for a loose ball.
The Grizzlies went on to win the match-up 85-73, and Geeslin went on to sue Bryant for a bruised lung cavity, which he claimed was purposely caused by a forearm shove by Bryant, who settled the case out of court on Friday.
“I recall a fast-paced incident seeing him come to me, running into me and then forearming me,” Geeslin said in a 2008 deposition. “He intentionally forearmed me in the chest. He did not apologize. He walked away and pushed — he kind of pushed his arm toward me and glared at me and walked away.”
He died 2 months after the deposition from unrelated injuries. His mother, Betty Geeslin, substituted as the plaintiff.
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[Geeslin], then 49, surmised that Bryant was angry that his team was losing or that the referee called no foul on the Grizzlies.
There is no allegation that the contact with Bryant caused his death, but Geeslin previously said he felt like “a human punching bag” and filed suit because he felt violated and that Bryant should not be able to “inject such pain.”
What happened next? Geeslin’s family decided to continue on with the suit and pursued an amount “exceeding $75,000.” The case was dismissed in 2010 as it was concluded that “no reasonable juror could conclude that the Defendant intended to harm the Plaintiff when he effectively pushed himself off of Plaintiff’s chest to get up and back in the game” and “a reasonable juror could not conclude that Defendant’s action was intended to cause Plaintiff harm.”
But naturally, it went to through the appeals process and a 6th U.S. Circuit Court decided the district federal court was right to dismiss the emotional distress part. But the lower court was told to consider the assault and battery charges.