Burress in court over car damage
LEBANON, Pa. -- Plaxico Burress is in court again.
A civil trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday in Pennsylvania to determine how much the New York Giants wide receiver will have to pay in damages over a car he leased that ended up being impounded by New York City police.
New York police said Tuesday that they impounded the car in August 2005 in connection with a shooting in the Bronx. Arrests were made, but the records were sealed and police gave no other details about the incident.
Court papers in Pennsylvania say a Lebanon County car dealer allowed Burress to borrow a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche worth more than $36,000 in exchange for Burress agreeing to sign autographs at promotional events.
"I thought it would be good for my business," the dealer, Frederick Laurenzo, said in an interview Tuesday.
But about a month after Burress received the car, Laurenzo said he received a call from police in New York, who told him they had impounded it in connection with a crime. So he called Burress and told him to call police -- but the police never heard from Burress and Burress never returned another one of Laurenzo's calls, Laurenzo said.
Laurenzo filed the civil complaint in September 2006, seeking restitution and accusing Burress of breach of contract because he never showed up to sign autographs and let someone else drive the vehicle. Laurenzo said it took him a year to get the vehicle back from the police.
The complaint did not disclose to whom Burress loaned the vehicle or the reason police impounded it.
After Laurenzo put a lien against Burress' house in Virginia, the sides agreed to an arbitration. A three-lawyer panel awarded more than $22,000 to Laurenzo last year, but Burress appealed.
Burress' lawyer, Matthew T. Croslis, said Tuesday he did not want to elaborate on the details of the case, but he acknowledged that Burress is responsible for some damages. The jury will have to decide how much, he said.
The star receiver who caught the game-winning pass in last year's Super Bowl has been embroiled in controversy for months. Burress was charged with two counts of illegal weapons possession after he accidentally shot himself in the right thigh at a Manhattan nightclub on Nov. 29.
Burress, who received a five-year, $35 million contract extension from the Giants in September, turned himself in on the weapons charges and was released on $100,000 bail. He is due in court on those charges March 31.
After the self-inflicted shooting, the Giants suspended Burress, 31, for the remainder of the season.
In December, Burress was sued in Broward County, Fla., for an accident last May in which he allegedly drove his $140,000 Mercedes-Benz into the back of a woman's vehicle. The woman's attorney later said that Burress had failed to pay the premium on his car insurance, which had lapsed three days before the wreck.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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Past news• Plax in court over leased car damage
• Burress' May car accident came while uninsured
• Burress attends New York charity event
• Giants' Pierce unsure of further police contact
• Giants refuse to pay portion of bonus
• Dolphins' Porter defends Plax, need for firearms
• Union appeals suspension, fine of Burress
• Sources: Pierce likely active rest of '08
• Pierce speaks with investigators about Burress
• Pierce scheduled to meet with authorities Friday
• Pierce likely to play Sunday as probe continues
• Burress arrested on weapons charges
• Giants receiver Smith robbed at gunpoint
• Burress charged on 2 felony weapon counts
• Burress hires attorney after shooting
• Burress shot self by accident