Off-Court Foul Draws Multi-Million-Dollar Claim

    TORONTO, April 10 /CNW/ - A claim for damages has been filed in the
Ontario Superior Court of Justice against all-star basketball player Gary
Payton, two of his former teammates, the team they once played for, the
Milwaukee Bucks, as well as the National Basketball Association.
    Dancers Vida Asante and Adrian Cimpean allege they were verbally abused,
physically assaulted and permanently injured by Payton, Jason Caffey and Sam
Cassell outside a Toronto nightclub in April 2003. They argue that the
Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA are liable because they actively support and
encourage their professional basketball players' abusive, racist, and violent
behaviour, on the court, and ignore it when it occurs, all too frequently, off
the court.
    They are represented by lawyer George A. Bougadis, a Partner at the
Toronto Bay Street litigation boutique of Bougadis, Chang LLP, Barristers.
    The plaintiffs are asking for a total of $10 million (Canadian) in
damages for themselves and a lesser amount for their two young children. In
total, the lawsuit is for $18 million (Canadian). They cite the physical
injuries, mental anguish and economic hardship they suffered as a result of
the beating they received when Mr. Cimpean tried to shield his partner from
Gary Payton's aggressive sexual advances and racist assault.
    The players were promptly charged with assault and assault causing bodily
harm by Toronto Police Services but it took almost four years for the case to
be completed. Although finding that Gary Payton was the aggressor, Provincial
Court Judge William Bassell said there was not enough evidence to convict him
and his friends of the criminal charges brought against them. The NBA players
were represented by Toronto criminal lawyer Edward Greenspan, currently
co-defending Conrad Black in Chicago, Illinois.
    Throughout this period, the player defendants have been able to continue
with their normal lives and receive the considerable benefits awarded to
players in the NBA.
    Life has been quite different for Mr. Cimpean and Ms. Asante. He has been
able to work only sporadically and she was fired from her job because her
employer was concerned about the subsequent police investigation and resulting
publicity. They and their children have suffered physically, economically,
emotionally, and socially. They are entitled to seek redress through the
courts, through civil litigation, and that is what they have chosen to do.
    To assist media organizations with background and context, separate DVD
and CD-ROM disks have been prepared containing: a video re-enactment of the
events of April 10-11, 2003; interviews with the plaintiffs; an interview with
an expert on race relations in Canada; and relevant news clippings and
research material. Neither Mr. Cimpean nor Ms. Asante will be making any
further comments until this matter is resolved.

For further information:

For further information: For copies of the CD-ROM, DVD, and additional
information contact: Bougadis, Chang LLP, Barristers, 360 Bay Street, Suite
600, Toronto, ON, M5H 2V6, Tel: (416) 703-2402

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