Justin Bieber has denied most of the allegations in a lawsuit filed against him and one member of his security team.
The pop star’s lawyers responded yesterday to a civil action filed in June in a Miami-Dade County court by paparazzo, Jeffery Binion, 56.
The suit alleges assault and battery against the bodyguard and negligence against Bieber.
Binion claims Bieber’s bodyguards assaulted him and stole a memory card from his camera, after he took pictures of the singer outside Miami’s Hit Factory Recording Studio on June 5.
In the suit, Binion and his lawyer, Russell S. Adler, accused one of the 19-year-old’s bodyguards of choking and strangling the photographer and “displaying” a gun.
Binion also claims other bodyguards present forced him to delete material from his camera.
Bieber is accused of negligence for allegedly “hiring and failing to control Broward County private security man Hugo Hesny.”
The teen star’s legal team have denied negligence in both respects.
Justin has reportedly denied hiring Hesny and said he contracted with the bodyguard’s employer.
Adler claimed in the suit Hesny is not licensed to work as a security guard and/or carry a gun he allegedly displayed during the alleged attack on Binion.
Binion claims he suffered bodily injury, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and incurred medical expenses as a result of the alleged assault.
In a Wednesday interview, Adler said he intends to seek punitive damages against Bieber as well as the alleged distresses already claimed. This would triple their compensatory damages payout if the lawsuit succeeds.
“It’s about deterring Bieber from future misconduct, and really it’s something all photographers should be concerned about,” Adler said, who has reportedly represented other photogs before.
Back in June, TMZ published a report containing a copy of an alleged 911 call Binion made almost immediately after his alleged encounter with Bieber’s security. In that call, there was no mention of a gun.
Shortly after Binion’s lawsuit was filed, two sources connected to Bieber’s camp reportedly denied any firearms were involved. The insiders claimed Binion’s claims were exaggerated and “the gun episode didn’t happen.”
According to court documents and a deputy, Bieber was recently served with Binion’s lawsuit after a Believe tour show, but wouldn’t take the documents. The teen singer allegedly let the papers fall to the ground and they were retrieved by someone else a few seconds later.
MIami-Dade police sent a report of their investigation into the alleged assault against Binion to the state attorney after they were called to the studio on June 5.
Bieber and his crew arrived in Miami the weekend before the NBA playoff between Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers at the American Airlines Arena on June 3.
After the game, the singer’s bodyguards were involved in a reportedly mostly verbal run-in with a local paparazzo after he took a picture of the teen star.
Justin and his bodyguards have also been named in another lawsuit from another paparazzo who alleges his camera and memory card were taken by the guards at around 4 am on June 5 outside Miami’s The Hit Factory studio, after he took pictures of the star.
It’s alleged the camera was returned to him without the memory card. TMZ later published a report purportedly containing a copy of the photographer’s subsequent 911 call.
Bieber is currently on vacation after completing North American tour dates. He is scheduled to go back on the road on September 23 when he kicks off the Asia leg at Singapore’s Formula 1 Grand Prix, before hitting Latin America, New Zealand, and wrapping in Perth, Australia on December 8.