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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Legal Matters

Shaq suing former marijuana business partners for $1 million

Shaq sitting courtside

Shaquille O’Neal invested a substantial amount of money in a marijuana business, and the Hall of Famer says he has nothing to show for it. He is hoping a lawsuit will change that.

O’Neal filed a lawsuit recently claiming he and his fellow plaintiff, Jerome Crawford, invested $150,000 in a marijuana business back in 2016. The suit, which was obtained by TMZ, claims the men invested the money so the company could “pursue opportunities in the field of legal cannabis.” By late 2017, they say the company had “seemingly had no licenses, no revenue, and no operations.”

Shaq’s attorney pressed the company for details on how the money he invested was being spent. After the questions were initially ignored, O’Neal’s legal team threatened litigation. The company then agreed to pay O’Neal and Crawford their money in $10,000 installments. Only $20,000 of that was paid, according to the lawsuit.

O’Neal and Crawford are seeking their initial investment back plus interest. They also want damages in excess of $1 million after they claim the company was mismanaged.

Shaq has made numerous investments since he retired from playing in 2011. They obviously have not all been successful.

Photo: Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; NBA former player Shaquille O’Neal watches a game between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors in the third quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals sued by ex-employees over vaccine firing

Washington Nationals logo

The Washington Nationals are being sued by two former employees who were fired for refusing to comply with the team’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Lawrence (Larry) Pardo and Brad Holman were pitching coaches in the Nats’ organization. The two refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons and were fired by the Nats as a result. The team instituted a mandate on Aug. 12 that went into effect on Sept. 10, leading to the firing of both men.

Now the two have filed a lawsuit against the club, TMZ Sports reports.

Pardo and Holman cited religious reasons for not getting the vaccine, which “were developed from or tested on aborted fetal cells.” The two are against abortion for religious reasons.

They believe they were discriminated against on the basis of religion and are due damages.

As of September, the two also were filing a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

Holman, 53, and Pardo, 55, were both hired by the team in 2018. Holman was the team’s minor league pitching coordinator, while Pardo was the pitching coach for the club’s Florida Complex League team, according to The Washington Post.

Henry Ruggs’ lawyers blame fire department

Henry Ruggs during a game

Lawyers for Henry Ruggs III are now pointing their fingers at the Clark County Fire Department.

David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, attorneys representing the former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver, claim firefighters did not arrive on the scene of the car crash for 20 minutes. During that time, 23-year-old Tina Tintor and her dog perished as her car burned. The car caught fire after Ruggs slammed into her from behind in excess of 120 MPH.

Ruggs has been charged with DUI resulting in death and reckless driving resulting in death. But his lawyers are trying to argue that the Clark County Fire Department deserves some blame for not responding quicker.

8News Now Las Vegas reports that Ruggs’ attorneys believe the fire could have been extinguished in “its infancy stages.”

From 8News Now’s report:

“Through investigation conducted by the defense, namely the discovery of a percipient witness, it has been revealed that the Clark County Fire Department was in a position to extinguish the vehicle fire while it was in its infancy stages and failed to do,” court documents said.

According to court documents, Ruggs’ lawyers claim “firemen did not attempt to extinguish the fire… for approximately 20 minutes at which time the entire vehicle was engulfed in flames.”

Last week, the Clark County Fire Department released a statement that disputed any claims of a delayed response.

“There were no delays in the response or in the attack on the fire,” the statement read. “The captain on the scene reported that the vehicle was fully involved in fire upon arrival and the passenger compartment was not survivable for anyone inside. There was a continuous rekindle in one area of the car that gave the crews some trouble, which is not unusual in vehicle fires. The captain states there was some material that was dripping, possibly from a fuel line that was reigniting in the passenger-side, rear-wheel area. The fire crews continuously extinguished this area as it reignited.”

Ruggs’ attorneys have also filed a motion to procure all Clark County Fire Department communications related to the crash, including text messages. Judge Suzan Baucum has told them they can issue their own subpoenas for said records.

If convicted, Ruggs faces the potential for serious prison time.

Image: Dec 13, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (11) against the Indianapolis Colts at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Did Cleveland Guardians hold off on merchandise due to lawsuit?

Cleveland Guardians logo

The Cleveland Indians will officially be known as the Cleveland Guardians beginning next season, but they have not yet begun selling gear featuring their new nickname. That may have something to do with a recent lawsuit that was filed.

According to Joey Morona of Cleveland.com, retailers had been told to expect sales of Guardians gear to begin on Monday at 9 a.m. However, the team informed them that the merchandise launch has been postponed, and no new sale date has been determined. There was no explanation. The Indians also declined comment when reached by Cleveland.com.

The timing does not seem like a coincidence. The Cleveland flat-track roller derby team, which is also known as the Guardians, filed a lawsuit last month seeking to block the Indians from using their new nickname. The Indians insist they were aware of the Guardians roller derby team and took the proper legal steps to secure use of the name.

The roller derby team claims in its lawsuit that the Indians were intentionally deceptive while securing their trademark for the Guardians name.

Money usually wins out in these types of battles, and MLB and the Indians obviously have a lot more of that than a local roller derby team. That said, the decision to push back the merchandise sales may indicate that the roller derby team has, at the very least, created a headache for the soon-to-be Guardians.

NFL issues response to Jon Gruden lawsuit

Jon Gruden smiles

Jon Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, and the league has wasted little time responding.

After the details of Gruden’s lawsuit surfaced on Friday, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy issued a statement calling the allegations “entirely meritless.”

Gruden’s 21-page lawsuit accuses the NFL and Goodell of leaking damaging emails in order to force him into resigning as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. The 58-year-old’s attorneys say the NFL orchestrated a “Soviet-style character assassination” on Gruden and intentionally withheld the emails for months in order to inflict maximum damage when they were released.

The lawsuit also says the initially NFL leaked one email — the one in which Gruden mocked NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith over the size of his lips — and then threatened to release more if Gruden remained the coach of the Raiders. More emails leaked days later in which Gruden used a gay slur and other problematic language. That’s when he resigned.

Gruden’s emails, which came from the 2011-2018 time period, were uncovered during the NFL’s investigation into workplace misconduct allegations against the Washington Football Team. More than 650,000 emails were reviewed as part of the investigation, but the NFL has reportedly claimed Gruden’s were the only damaging ones. The lawsuit cites that as evidence that Gruden was railroaded.

Someone who spoke with Gruden over a week ago said the former coach believes the “truth” will eventually come out.

The lawsuit may not be the only one the NFL faces over the situation.

Photo: Aug 18, 2021; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden during a joint practice against the Los Angeles Rams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Video allegedly shows Gracelyn Trimble threatening to get her gun on Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook in Vikings pads

Dalvin Cook and his ex-girlfriend Gracelyn Trimble have each made explosive allegations against one another, and a new video claims to show Trimble threatening to shoot the Minnesota Vikings running back.

A video that was leaked to TMZ and other outlets allegedly shows part of an argument between Cook and Trimble. During the verbal dispute, a woman — supposedly Trimble — can be heard demanding that a man — said to be Cook — have a discussion with her. While the camera is pointed toward the ground, the man can be heard saying “let my hair go” after the woman apparently grabbed him by the hair.

The woman then says “I’m gonna punch you in your s— again” and “I swear to god I’m gonna get my gun and pull that s— on you.” You can see the video here. Keep in mind that it is very brief and contains little context.

Cook’s attorneys on Tuesday claimed he was the victim of domestic abuse and extortion from a woman who unlawfully entered his home in 2020. The news of Cook’s situation seemingly came out of nowhere and contained very little context. We later learned that Trimble filed a lawsuit against Cook earlier that day in which she claims she was beaten by the star running back.

In the lawsuit, Trimble shared her side of an altercation that took place on Nov. 19, 2020 at Cook’s home. There is no dispute that an altercation occurred, but both sides give vastly differing accounts of what took place. You can read more details from the lawsuit here.

Neither Cook nor Trimble went to the police about the matter.

Trimble included text messages and photos of the alleged injuries she suffered during the altercation.

The Vikings said in a statement that they are gathering more information about the incident.

Photo: Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) takes the field for the first quarter of the NFL Week One game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. The Bengals led 14-7 at halftime. Minnesota Vikings At Cincinnati Bengals. Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Gracelyn Trimble includes text messages, photos of Dalvin Cook allegations

Messages from Gracelyn Trimble

Gracelyn Trimble included text messages and photos of her injuries allegedly suffered during an incident with Dalvin Cook in the lawsuit she filed on Tuesday.

Cook, the star running back for the Minnesota Vikings, is involved in a legal matter with Trimble, who is his ex-girlfriend. Trimble filed a civil suit on Tuesday after being unable to resolve her dispute with Cook out of court.

Cook’s attorneys claim the running back is being extorted by Trimble for millions of dollars and that he was the victim of her domestic abuse. She claims in her lawsuit that she was beat up by Cook upon flying to his home to break up with him for good. You can read the details on each of their claims here.

In her lawsuit, Trimble included a text message exchange between her and Cook that appears to have taken place via Instagram’s direct message feature.

“I know what I did can’t be rewind (sic) but I just want you to know I’m sorry I love you so much despite you thinking I don’t or never did but I do! Whatever you need I’m here for you! And if you wanna go to the police I’ll respect that I’ll take my punishment for what I did!” he wrote in one message.

“Dalvin My face is so messed up I probably won’t even get to go see my family for thanksgiving,” Trimble wrote back.

“And I’m sorry for that! But the situation just got out of hand from the jump,” Cook replied.

Cook then asked, “can you come back to me?”

Trimble replied with a photo of her beat up face and also sent a video.

Trimble claims she suffered a concussion, cuts and bruises during the incident.

She included photos as part of her evidence.

Ex-girlfriend Gracelyn Trimble sues Dalvin Cook over alleged assault

Dalvin Cook in Vikings pads

We now have more information and a more complete picture about a lawsuit involving Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook.

Cook’s attorneys on Tuesday claimed he was the victim of domestic abuse and extortion from a woman who unlawfully entered his home in 2020. The news of Cook’s situation seemingly came out of nowhere and contained very little context.

However, we later learned what was going on: a lawsuit had been filed that day by Cook’s ex-girlfriend, Gracelyn Trimble. Trimble filed her lawsuit after the two sides were unable to reach a settlement.

In her lawsuit, Trimble shared her side of an altercation that took place on Nov. 19, 2020 at Cook’s home.

There is no dispute that an altercation occurred, but both sides give vastly differing accounts of what took place. Trimble claims she was beaten up by Cook, thrown into a coffee table and beaten with a broomstick. He claims she entered the home without permission, maced him and his friends, and held them at gunpoint.

Trimble gave more details about her side of the story in her lawsuit.

Trimble, 29, is a sergeant in the U.S. Army and currently stationed in Italy. According to the Star Tribune, Trimble’s lawsuit alleges that Cook gave her a concussion and left a scar on her face during their Nov. 19, 2020 incident.

According to the report, Trimble claimed she flew to Minnesota to break up with Cook for good. She claims she entered his home through his garage and grabbed some mace that she stored in the garage. Trimble claims Cook got angry when she asked him for his help in gathering her things.

Cook “grabbed her arm, and slung her whole body over the couch, slamming her face into the coffee table and causing her lower forehead and the bridge of her nose to bust open,” the suit alleges.

Trimble claims she used the mace in self-defense, while Cook seems to claim that Trimble used the mace offensively.

The Star Tribune adds more:

“Trimble went into the bedroom, grabbed Cook’s gun and called her friend, according to the lawsuit. Cook overheard her and threatened her, and beat her with a broomstick, the suit claims,” according to the Star Tribune.

Neither Cook nor Trimble went to the police about the matter. Cook allegedly sent Trimble a text message saying he would take punishment for what he did if she chose to report the incident.

Cook’s attorney, David Valentini, responded to the lawsuit in a statement. Valentini claims Trimble entered Cook’s home with a stolen garage opener, maced the running back and two of his guests, and assaulted him.

Cook accuses Trimble of being “emotionally abusive” and “physically aggressive.” Cook claims Trimble damaged his car twice and attempted to prevent him from seeing other women.

Cook’s attorney portrays Trimble as the aggressor and Cook acting in self-defense. The matter has gone public due to the inability of the sides to settle the matter out of court.

Cook and Trimble continued to date despite the November incident but broke up for good in May. Trimble included text messages and photos in her lawsuit as evidence.

Cook was drafted by the Vikings in 2017. The 26-year-old running back has made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons.

Photo: Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) takes the field for the first quarter of the NFL Week One game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. The Bengals led 14-7 at halftime. Minnesota Vikings At Cincinnati Bengals. Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Dalvin Cook claims he was victim of domestic abuse, extortion

Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook is involved in a bizarre legal situation.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped a bit of a bombshell on Tuesday when he tweeted that Cook is the victim of extortion and domestic abuse. Schefter reported that Cook’s attorney said litigation was pending.

The situation is odd considering nothing has publicly been reported about the matter.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio spoke to Cook’s attorney Zac Hiller about the matter. Hiller told Florio that around a year ago, a woman unlawfully entered the running back’s home while he had a guest present. The woman who entered the home is a sergeant in the U.S. military.

Cook alleges that the woman tried to extort for millions of dollars for injuries she suffered during the attack she allegedly initiated. Litigation allegedly is in the process of commencing.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case, which explains why the matter has not been reported publicly prior to now.

UPDATE: Details on the case have now emerged.

Cook has rushed for 554 yards and two touchdowns so far this season. The Minnesota Vikings running back had 1,557 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

Raiders CB Damon Arnette sued over alleged hit-and-run

Damon Arnette on the sideline

Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette was involved in a car accident roughly a year ago, and he is now being sued over the incident.

According to KSNV’s Matthew Seeman, a lawsuit that was filed last month accuses Arnette of leaving the scene after he hit another car and caused serious injuries to the other driver. The accident reportedly took place on Oct. 14, 2020.

Yaneth Casique, the driver of the other vehicle, says in the complaint that Arnette was traveling at least 65 mph on St. Rose Parkway in Las Vegas when he lost control of his car and crashed into hers, which was stopped at an intersection. Casique says Arnette explained that he was speeding “to avoid being late for a meeting he was to attend” at the Raiders’ facility, which was roughly a block from the accident.

The lawsuit states that Arnette left the scene and that his passenger tried to say he was driving the vehicle, not Arnette.

“Later defendant Damon Arnette was located and confronted at Raiders Headquarters when he admitted he was the operator of the vehicle that was traveling at a high rate of speed when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the vehicle operated by plaintiff Yaneth Coromoto Casique,” the suit states.

The lawsuit also names the Raiders as defendants, claiming Arnette was “acting within the scope of employment.”

Arnette was charged with failure to maintain a lane and duty to stop at an accident, according to court records. He pleaded guilty and paid $1,640 in fines for the two misdemeanors.

Casique says she hit her head in the accident and lost consciousness. She states that she has suffered from headaches, balance impairment, memory loss and other symptoms since the crash. She is seeking damages for medical expenses, loss of income, property damage, attorney’s fees and general damages. Casique says she has medical bills that total nearly $100,000.

The lawsuit against Arnette was filed last month. The Raiders have since dealt with more negative publicity with Henry Ruggs’ deadly crash, for which he is facing numerous felony charges. Arnette, like Ruggs, was drafted by the Raiders in the first round last year.

Photo: Nov 22, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette (20) against the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports