Click here to Skip to main content
LATEST HEADLINES - NBA NEWS

Appeals court in Ohio rules in fan-Bryant lawsuit


Posted Dec 22 2011 2:38PM

CINCINNATI (AP) -- A fan's lawsuit against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant over a courtside incident in Memphis, Tenn., six years ago has been returned to a lower court.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled Thursday that a federal district court was right to dismiss the fan's claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. But the lower court was told to take another look at the lawsuit's claim of assault and battery.

The fan charged that Bryant had knocked his seat back as he charged after the ball in a 2005 game against the Memphis Grizzlies, but then forearmed him in the chest.

The western Tennessee district court ruled that fans sitting courtside assume the risk of such contact. But the three-judge appeals panel said that wouldn't include the alleged forearm shove.

The fan, Bill Geeslin of Blytheville, Ark., has since died. His estate is continuing the lawsuit.

Bryant was trying to grab a pass when he careened out of bounds. Geeslin's complaint said that while getting up to resume play, Bryant pushed his forearm into his chest "in an unnecessary and forceful manner, causing him injury." Geeslin said he later needed treatment for a bruised lung cavity.

The initial lawsuit asked for at least $75,000 in damages.

"Overall, I'm pleased. The court .... sustained our position on those primary claims," said Robert Coleman, the plaintiff's attorney.

A message was left for Bryant's attorney, who could appeal Thursday's ruling.

SEARCH NEWS
LATEST VIDEOS
photoRoad to the Finals #6: Cleveland Cavaliers -- Playoffs Journey
Two sweeps and a battle against the Bulls -- and when the dust cleared, the Cleveland Cavaliers' playoff journey landed them a spot in the NBA Finals.
photoGameTime: Fred Hoiberg
Fred Hoiberg addresses the media, and the GameTime crew react to Hoiberg being hired as the Bulls head coach.
photoGameTime: Finals Predictions
Rick Kamla and Dennis Scott give their predictions for the 2015 NBA Finals.
photoGameTime: Klay vs. J.R.
Rick Kamla and Dennis Scott give a update on Klay Thompson then preview of the matchup between Klay Thompson and J.R. Smith.
photoGameTime: Marv Albert
Marv Albert joins GameTime to talk about Steve Kerr and the 2015 NBA Finals.

Copyright © NBA Media Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of NBA.com may be duplicated, redistributed or manipulated in any form. By accessing any information beyond this page, you agree to abide by the Privacy Policy / Your California Privacy Rights and Terms of Use. | Ad Choices Ad Choices

NBA.com is part of Turner Sports Digital, part of the Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network.