Woman files suit against Chiefs' Johnson accusing him of assault, battery
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas woman filed a lawsuit Monday against Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson a month after claiming he spit a drink in her face at a bar and threatened to kill her and her boyfriend.
The lawsuit, filed by 24-year-old Ashley N. Stewart, accuses the two-time Pro Bowler of negligence, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Kevin E.J. Regan, an attorney for Johnson, called the allegations "preposterous."
The lawsuit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, seeks punitive damages, attorney fees and any other amount a jury deems to be fair. Johnson was charged last month with simple assault for the incident that occurred Oct. 10 at Kansas City's Club Blonde.
"This is not about money," said Kirra N. Jones, Stewart's attorney. "My client has worked her way through school. She's in the Air Force, National Guard. She's a hardworking student and this really came as an unfortunate incident in her life. But you know what? She's a fighter. She's willing to be the person who finally makes Larry Johnson answer for his repeated bad behavior."
But Regan said an investigation performed on his client's behalf determined that Johnson didn't threaten anyone and that Stewart threw a drink at Johnson earlier in the evening. Regan said he would move to strike the lawsuit, which he described as "amateurishly written," and might file a counterclaim.
"This appears to be a classic incident of someone trying to use the court system to get something for nothing," Regan said.
Johnson was back with the team on Monday after serving a one-game suspension imposed by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy. He also missed the previous three games after being deactivated by the team.
According to the lawsuit, Johnson offered to buy Stewart a shot of alcohol on Oct. 3, but she declined. A week later, she alleged, Johnson became belligerent toward her and said, "All I wanted to tell you is I'm going to kill your boyfriend."
Stewart claims Johnson also said, "I'm gonna kill you, too. First I'm gonna kill your boyfriend, then I'm going to kill you and that's a promise."
She says that as she was backing away from him, Johnson took a drink from his glass and spit it in her face, then his two bodyguards tackled her.
The suit claims that Johnson tried three more times to spit on Stewart as he was walking to his car with his bodyguards.
It was the fourth time in five years that Johnson has been accused of assaulting a woman. He has a Dec. 4 court date for allegedly pushing a woman's face at another Kansas City night spot in February.
"Really, this is to send a message to the Kansas City community that we're not going to let this guy continue to victimize the community like this," Jones said. "We're not going to continue to stand for it."
In 2005 and 2006, Johnson was one of the best running backs in the NFL. He went to the Pro Bowl after rushing for more than 1,750 yards in each season. After a training camp holdout in 2007, he was rewarded with a contract that guaranteed a team-record $19 million. But he was injured the last half of the 2007 season and has been inconsistent so far this year for the Chiefs (1-8).
In Kansas City's lone victory, he rushed for 198 yards against Denver on Sept. 28, the most in the AFC this season.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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