<
>

Fan's nose was broken by chair thrown by Francisco

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The woman whose nose was broken last year
when she was hit by a chair thrown by Texas reliever
Frank Francisco filed a lawsuit Thursday against Francisco, two of his
teammates and the Rangers.

The suit filed by Jennifer Bueno seeks damages for battery,
assault and negligence. Also named in the lawsuit are Texas
pitchers Doug Brocail and Carlos Almanzar, the Texas Rangers
Baseball Company and Staff Pro Inc., the company hired by the
Oakland Athletics to provide security at the game.

"As a matter of policy, the organization doesn't address issues
related to litigation, especially when it involves a lawsuit, which
we have not seen and only heard about from news reports," Rangers
spokesman Gregg Elkin said.

Brocail and Almanzar declined to comment while Francisco was
unavailable as he prepares to undergo surgery Friday.

Bueno's attorney, J. Gary Gwilliam, said at a news conference
that the incident was the fault of the players involved, and
repeatedly maintained that Bueno's husband, Craig, did nothing
wrong to incite the players.

Craig Bueno was among a group of fans who heckled the Texas
bullpen during the Sept. 13, 2004, game at the Coliseum.

"These were players out of control," Gwilliam said. "Jenny
did absolutely nothing wrong. She didn't say anything to anybody
and we don't believe that Craig did anything wrong."

Jennifer Bueno said she has physically recovered from her
injury, pointing to a small scar on the bridge of her nose, but
said she is still affected emotionally by the incident.

"It's something that's going to stay with me for the rest of my
life," Bueno said. "I never thought that I'd have to go to a game
and be fearful for players attacking me, but nobody can say that
won't happen, because we know now it can."

Bueno said she has not attended any baseball games since then
and did not anticipate going to any soon. She also said she is
"apprehensive and scared" of confrontations at her children's
games.

Gwilliam said negotiations last month on a settlement with the
Rangers were unsuccessful. He wouldn't say how much Bueno is
seeking.

"We were a long ways apart, and any figures they had were not
in the ballpark," he said.

Francisco's attorney, Rick Minkoff, had no comment on the
lawsuit.

The criminal trial against Francisco is still pending, and was
postponed Thursday by the judge until June 2.

Minkoff presented a pre-plea report for the court to consider.
He said he will also submit additional materials before that date.
Francisco is charged with misdemeanor assault, which carries a
maximum sentence of one year in county jail and three years
probation if convicted.

"This was our first opportunity to have a full discussion with
the court that's going to be in charge of the case and handle the
disposition of the case," Minkoff said. "The court's going to
hear more from us and I consider that substantial progress because
it's the first time that's happened."

Both sides will consider pleading out the case, but Minkoff said
he would not consider anything that would endanger Francisco's
immigration status. Francisco, who is from the Dominican Republic,
is in the country on a visa.

Francisco, who did not appear in court, will undergo
season-ending ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow
Friday.