Tuesday 23 December 2014

Bieber facing bigger damages claim

Published 01/04/2014 | 16:57

Justin Bieber performing at Bercy Arena in Paris (AP)
Justin Bieber performing at Bercy Arena in Paris (AP)

A photographer is seeking to increase the potential damages he could win from Justin Bieber in a Florida lawsuit accusing the singer and a bodyguard of assault.

The photographer's lawyer Mark DiCowden told a hearing he has documented at least 11 similar alleged assaults against photographers over two years involving the Canadian star and his security personnel.

Mr DiCowden said a punitive damage award for photographer Jeffrey Binion could deter future assaults.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel did not immediately rule.

Bieber's lawyers said Mr Binion is looking for an unwarranted pay-off from a frivolous lawsuit.

The photographer claims he was assaulted by bodyguard Hugh Hesney in June near a recording studio.

Bieber has also pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence and other charges after a arrest in Miami Beach on January 23.

Mr DiCowden told the hearing: "It's not a financial fishing expedition. It is well known around the world that Justin Bieber does not like to be photographed in public."

Bieber's lawyer Jared Lopez said there is no evidence that Mr Binion was physically harmed in the alleged attack - meaning compensatory damages might be minimal - and no proof that Bieber told Hesny to go after him.

"I don't tell security how to do their job," Bieber said in a March deposition in the case, according to Mr Lopez.

Outside the courtroom, another of Bieber's legal team, Roy Black, called the lawsuit "frivolous" and intended mainly to generate publicity.

Hesny is facing a misdemeanour battery charge, and he was also recently charged over another photographer confrontation in Atlanta. Bieber is not facing criminal charges in either case.

Other incidents involving Bieber bodyguards have occurred in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Argentina and England, according to court papers.

Mr DiCowden also wants Judge Zabel to order Bieber to return to Miami for another deposition to answer questions about his on-off girlfriend, singer and actress Selena Gomez. The lawyer claims he was improperly prevented from asking those questions during the March deposition and that they are important to the Florida case because she might have been present during previous photographer attacks.

Judge Zabel is holding a hearing in June on that request.

Press Association

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