Kobe Bryant Settles Totally Bullshit Assault Case
Back on Nov. 14, 2005, Arkansas insurance agent Bill Geeslin was sitting courtside at FedEx Forum watching the Memphis Grizzlies beating the Lakers. At one point, the always-hustling Bryant chased a ball out of bounds, with a Grizzly by his side, and collided with Geeslin.
In 99.9 percent of the cases, such an incident falls under the shit-happens clause. You pay for courtside seats to get as close to the players and their sweat and their trash talk as you can, with the implicit understanding that you may get hit by a loose ball, a loose player or a loose Rip Hamilton mask.
In this case, Mamba braced for his fall by pulling up a forearm that smashed into Geeslin's chest. Claiming that Bryant's move was intentional and caused a bruise to his lung, Geeslin filed a lawsuit alleging assault and seeking $75,000 to compensate him for "feeling like a human punching bag."
"He intentionally forearmed me in the chest," Geelin said in a 2008 deposition. "He did not apologize. He walked away and pushed-he kind of pushed his arm toward me and glared at me and walked away."
Geeslin had treated his original injury with Ibuprofen and a breathing machine and two weeks after it happened, he was given a clean bill of health. Later in 2008, he died at age 49, by a cause no one has related to the arena collision.
Judge S. Thomas Anderson in 2010 rightly tossed the case, finding no reasonable juror would blame Bryant for the incident. While the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati agreed with Anderson that Geeslin's claims of emotional distress were bullshit, the court found the assault complaint should be heard.
That set up a trial that would have begun this week had Kobe not settled for an amount undisclosed but believed to be somewhere in the $75,000 neighborhood originally sought.
For those keeping score at home, this is the second bullshit lawsuit from an opposing arena to befall a pro sports figure tied to Orange County in the past two weeks, or did you already forget this:
Is Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray Getting Jobbed in Detroit?
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