Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bell facing civil suit

[Mark] Bell's problems won't end with his sentence, which could be commuted to four months for good behaviour. Bell also faces a lawsuit from [victim Jose Luis] Villafana, seeking "unlimited" damages.

"It's very early in the proceedings and we intend to pursue it all the way through," Villafana lawyer Samuel Samaniego told the Star yesterday. "We've sued in Superior Court for unlimited. Basically that means we're going to be going for everything."

According to the police report, Bell wasn't injured that night, but Villafana suffered multiple cuts to his head and face, swelling in his left foot, pain in both knees, chest pain while breathing and back pain all over. He missed work. He didn't have a driver's license nor did he have insurance.
Spending some time in a county jail may, in fact, be the least of Bell's worries this season, and you really wonder just how well he'll be able to perform in the Toronto fishbowl under these circumstances.

Many Maple Leafs fans are already speculating he'll be sent to the minors this season.

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At 3:27 p.m., August 16, 2007, Blogger Kevin said...

Boy, am I disappointed that he's not in San Jose any more.

At 3:29 p.m., August 16, 2007, Anonymous jealous broadcaster said...

A tip of the hat to JFJ.
Make it 41 years of inept management!

At 3:43 p.m., August 16, 2007, Blogger Daniel said...

Pretty sad to see that people still do this. Any time they can sue someone, they go for the throat. How much work did this guy miss and how much money did he really use? It is very unfortunate that the victim was injured, it really is, but frivolous lawsuits are absolutely ridiculous.

At 3:47 p.m., August 16, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

While I am totally on-board with Bell actually going to jail for his crime (sadly DUI/DWIs don't get enough jail time in either country) how is it possible that the driver who had neither insurance or a license is going to be able to benefit from breaking the law?

I could see damages being limited to restitution for work missed and rehabilitation but unlimited? The guy should never have been on the street!

And if Bell ends up with the Marlies then it means that the Leafs essentially tossed in $5M as part of the trade. That's a good way to circumvent the CBA.*

*In general, not necessarily in this case.

At 4:02 p.m., August 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Vilafana's 1981 Datsun has just been upgraded to a 2007 Lexus.

I'm sure the next move is for Vilafana and his attorney to appear on Court TV, Nancy Grace, Larry King etc. etc.. Given how wacky juries in California can be it looks like Vilafana is in for a big payday.

Just out of curiosity, has anyone asked Vilafana if he is an American citizen - or is in the country legally - most people driving without licences in California turn out to be illegal immigrants.

At 4:33 p.m., August 16, 2007, Blogger Matt said...

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been going for "everything" too for the last 41 years.

At least this guy's going to be a little more successful.

At 4:44 p.m., August 16, 2007, Blogger Paul said...

"unlimited" damages.

You can do that? Wow.

Frank: Gentlemen, I propose we send a message to tobacco companies by fining the El Dorado Cigarette Company infinity billion dollars!

Congressman: That's the spirit, Frank! But I think a real number might be more effective.

At 5:08 p.m., August 16, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

Matt, we get it. You don't like the Leafs.

At 5:26 p.m., August 16, 2007, Anonymous Baroque said...

How can you have "back pain all over?" Your whole body isn't one big back!

At 6:05 p.m., August 16, 2007, Anonymous Matt said...

Its not me (occasional poster over @ BoO)!! He's an imposter.

I should come up with a more original screen name.

At 7:29 p.m., August 16, 2007, Blogger PJ Swenson said...

It was worth it for Toronto just to get goaltender Vesa Toskala.

At 10:29 p.m., August 16, 2007, Blogger JMP said...

It was worth it to have something hockey-related to talk about in August.

At 10:41 p.m., August 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toskala has never won anything and only been number one in Finland years ago.

Don't get your hopes too high. Just find Oilers vs. San Jose playoffs footage during 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs from YouTube and you'll see how Toskala handled pressure.

Kiprusoff he is not, Hedberg more likely.

At 11:16 p.m., August 16, 2007, Anonymous SabreMark said...

Baroque - I will paraphrase Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons - "I have a headache in my belly!"

And to anyone wondering if this guy who got hit is an illegal - of course he is. But God forbid he is deported. Now everyone knows why we Yanks have been clamoring for immigration reform.


At 8:42 a.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

SM - is he a confirmed illegal? I hate to admit it but knowing the situation in the border states as soon as I read no license and no insurance that thought popped into my head.

Read today that Bell hasn't had a drink since that day: 347 sober so far. That is great to see him learning from his mistake.

At 9:31 a.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Pseudonym said...

I'm sure the lawyer hired by Bell's insurance company lawyer will be able to settle a claim from an uninsured driver with "pain all over". I know in Ontario this case wouldn't be worth much - not sure about California. No fractures and I don't think he required an overnight stay in a hospital.

At 11:37 a.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger mc79hockey said...

I'd suspect that the lawyer hired by Bell's insurance company wrote them a nice opinion on which they can justify their denial of coverage for this accident, given that he was shitfaced. I'd imagine he's on the hook himself.

I concur with the idea that it's probably not worth much in

At 12:41 p.m., August 17, 2007, Anonymous michelle said...

While it's certainly tragic that someone is using this as a case to go overboard, Bell himself could have solved this by NOT DRIVING WHILE DRUNK. Sure, the guy without the license or insurance should not have been out there, but neither should have Bell. I'm not condoning the guy's lawsuit, though sadly I'm not surprised the guy is going after a profession athlete. It's a harsh lesson for Bell to learn, that's for sure.

And (in case I haven't annoyed enough people), back injuries can hurt "all over". My back injury lead to neck problems and I still get sore legs when it acts up. I didn't sue anyone though. ;-)

At 2:21 p.m., August 17, 2007, Anonymous deltamike said...

Bell may be fine if ex turpi causa isn't terribly limited in California. Still, I would not like having to rely on arguing it as a defence.

At 2:27 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger The Acid Queen said...

And to anyone wondering if this guy who got hit is an illegal - of course he is.

And you know

Not everyone with an Hispanic surname is an illegal immigrant.

At 3:42 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

Having a Hispanic surname myself I know that's true but ACQ I am guessing it's an educated guess based on the state, the name, the lack of insurance, and the lack of a license.

Or maybe he has confirmation from somewhere else.


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