Wednesday, May 1, 2019

DiBella Entertainment and Headbangers Win Dismissal from Prichard Colon Lawsuit

Today in D.C. Superior Court, Judge John Campbell filed an Opinion granting both defendant promoters DiBella Entertainment (DBE) and Headbangers, Inc. motions to dismiss the negligence claims brought against them in a lawsuit by injured boxer Prichard Colon.

The suit arose from the brain injuries Colon suffered in a boxing match against Terrel Williams in Fairfax, VA on October 17, 2015.   The Complaint alleged that Williams hit Colon with rabbit punches (illegal punches to the back of the head) throughout the fight until Colon fell from a rabbit punch in the seventh round.  The ringside doctor, Dr. Richard Ashby, examined Colon and allowed the fight to continue.  Colon was subsequently knocked down twice in the ninth round and lost on a disqualification.  Colon collapsed after the fight and has been bedridden and in a "vegetative" state since that night.

The Complaint, filed in May 2017, alleged that promoters DBE and Headbangers "owed Prichard a duty of care to hire, appoint, choose, recruit and approve personnel who enforce, instruct, advise and abide by applicable standards of care," and "to ensure that the specific ringside physician was properly trained . . . and skilled to perform the neurological examinations necessary to determine if one of the fighters had suffered a traumatic brain injury."  Plaintiffs also alleged that the promoters failed to "make sure that guidelines, procedures, and protocols were in place to properly prevent and assess bleeding in the brain of one of the boxers..."

Both DBE and Headbangers argued in their motions to dismiss that the bout was conducted under the auspices of the state of Virginia's Boxing Regulations.  They further argued that plaintiff Colon could not establish that the promoters had a duty of care to "hire . . . and approve personnel" and "ensure that the . . . ringside physician was properly trained" because the Regulations bestow those duties on the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

Judge Campbell agreed with DBE and Headbangers arguments stating, the "Regulations are clear that event promoters, such as DBE and Headbangers, are not responsible for ringside protocols or the hiring of a ringside physician.  Both of these duties are entirely the responsibility of the Department.  DBE and Headbangers thus cannot be held liable for breach of a duty they did not possess." 

The Judge further ruled that all claims against DBE and Headbangers were dismissed with prejudice.

See Complaint below:
See DBE Motion to Dismiss:
See Headbangers Motion to Dismiss:
See Opinion of the Court:

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