Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Dennis Rodman Lawsuit

J'accuse Rodman!

Last week, a Nevada woman sued former NBA basketball player and 1990s relic Dennis Rodman for assault and various other causes of action. In early 2006, Sara Robinson, the plaintiff, worked as a bartender at Cuba Libra, a restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. In her complaint, she alleges that Rodman appeared at the bar and "began making a scene," "attempted to climb on top of or over [the bar]," "grabbed her, pulled her towards him and rubbed his body against hers" and ultimately "assaulted her by reaching down and slapping her open handed on her bottom." She claims to have reported the incident to her employer and was told that Rodman would not be allowed back into the hotel. However, she claims Rodman resurfaced at Cuba Libre in mid-April of 2006 and caused yet another scene. Robinson claims that she was terminated after pointing out the inconsistency to her employer.

According to this story by the Associated Press, Rodman may be in familiar territory:

Rodman, 46, is no stranger to lawsuits in Las Vegas. In 2001, a state jury awarded former Mirage craps dealer James Brasich $80,000 in a case against Rodman.

Brasich said Rodman humiliated him by rubbing dice on his head, chest, stomach and genitals during an October 1997 craps game. Rodman appealed the verdict, and both sides later reached a confidential settlement.

That Rodman is entangled in such a lawsuit is hardly surprising considering his antics of the 1990s, an era of which he is most certainly an artifact. But the intrepid master of the rebound is distinguishable from modern "famous for being famous" celebrities and heirheads as it was actual talent that initially brought him his fame. He began as an excellent, though rowdy and disrespectful, basketball player before descending into the curious drama of pseudo-celebrity marriages and reality shows. These days, most fame seekers throttle straight for a reality show, bypassing the former initial requirement of talent before self parody.

Robinson's attorney is Elizabeth M. Ghanem of the Las Vegas firm of Ghanem & Sullivan, L.L.P. According to her biography, she is no stranger to Nevada's federal courts. She clerked for U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan of Nevada (who has the historical distinction of being nominated to his post on September 10, 2001). Mahan will not hear this case; it has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones (who previously ruled for the Google in a copyright infringement lawsuit over its caching of websites) and U.S. Magistrate Peggy A. Leen (who made News of the Weird earlier this year for her handling of an issue). Whether Ghanem's experience will prepare her for a deposition of Rodman remains to be seen.

Rodman and the corporate hotel defendants have not yet filed an answer in the proceeding. However, Rodman completists (if such persons exist) can review Robinson's complaint and supporting evidence as follows:

1. Plaintiff Sara Robinson's Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial [PDF]
2. Summons to Dennis Rodman [PDF]


horus kemwer said...

Damnit, don't taunt us ~ we want a "Double Team" review!

J.S. said...

Rodman really was a strong basketball talent, and he's always been a magnet for accusations and bad publicity. I had a couple of friends who met him while he was playing for the Spurs and while I was attending Trinity in San Antonio (inlcuding one friend who worked in a vet's office that took care of his pet birds and another friend who waited on him a number of times at a local restaurant), and they all said he was very polite and nice and low key. I don't know the man, obviously, but he seems like just the kind of guy that people might want to pin stuff on (meaning wealthy and a bit eccentric).