Civil lawsuit from '04 Pistons-Pacers brawl dismissed

Updated: October 20, 2006, 12:44 AM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- A federal jury dismissed a civil lawsuit Thursday by a man who claimed Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal permanently injured him during the 2004 brawl between Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Jermaine O'Neal
O'Neal

Charles Haddad, 23, alleged O'Neal's punch to his head caused him to suffer migraine headaches, memory loss, trouble sleeping, inability to socialize, and aversion to bright lights and loud noises.

The defense presented evidence that Haddad flew to Las Vegas the day after the Nov. 19, 2004, brawl and had been a regular visitor to the gambling mecca ever since.

The U.S. District Court jury determined that O'Neal did strike Haddad but the punch was justified because O'Neal was acting to protect his teammates.

Haddad was charged with violating a local ordinance against entering a performance space. He pleaded no contest last year and was sentenced to probation and community service.

Haddad's lawyer, Jason J. Thompson of Detroit, said his client is considering an appeal.

"We're disappointed that Jermaine O'Neal gets away with this punch,'' Thompson told the Detroit Free Press.

A message seeking comment was left Thursday evening for Steven Potter, an Auburn Hills lawyer representing O'Neal and the Pacers.

Pacers spokesman David Benner said the team had no immediate comment.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press