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$50,000 Damages Allowed for Spectator Pulled from Seat by Miami Heat Mascot
Description Fan pulled from seat at Miami Heat basketball game by team mascot fell and was humiliated. Jury award of $50,000 was upheld on appeal despite offer by Heat of $100,000 to settle, which fan had rejected.
Topic Torts
Key Words Battery, Emotional Distress, Damages
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Gil-de-Rebollo attended a basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks in San Juan, Puerto Rico. During a time-out, Lockard, dressed in a costume as "Burnie," the mascot of the Heat, pulled her out of her front row seat to participate in a stunt. She resisted, fell, was helped up and pulled to the court, at which point she walked back to her seat. She sued for minor bruises suffered, lingering pain in her arm and back, and emotional distress due to humiliation. The jury found in her favor and awarded $50,000 damages against Lockard (who was convicted of a misdemeanor battery based on her complaint) and the Heat. Requesting greater damages (the Heat offered $100,000 to settle, but she rejected) she appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The award of $50,000 is not a manifest miscarriage of justice. The damages suffered were intangible; "verdicts in personal injury cases are not models of mathematical exactitude."
Citation Gil-de-Rebollo v. Miami Heat Assn., Inc. 1998 WL 83040 (1st Cir.)
or
137 F.3d 56 (1st Cir., 1998)

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