BRIDGEPORT – The jury in the two-week-long bat-attack trial of Jose Offerman awarded the victim, former Bluefish catcher Johnathan Nathans $940,000 in damages.
The verdict in the federal case was returned at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday; the seven-member jury deliberated for about 5 hours.
Nathans was seeking $4.8 million for his injuries. He testified that the bat attack on Aug. 14, 2007, left him permanently disabled with vertigo, splitting headaches, nausea and other problems.
The case is an unusual one because in professional sports, cases of one player suing another for damages for on-field incidents are all but unheard of.
Offerman charged the mound after getting it with a pitch in the second inning, armed with his bat. Nathans, the catcher, followed him there and tried to protect his pitcher, Matt Beech. In the fracas that followed, Beech was left with a broken finger on his non-pitching (right) hand and Nathans, according to his testimony, was smacked in the back-right side of his head with Offerman’s bat.
Offerman’s team, the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks, were not found to the culpable, the jury said.
Offerman’s attorney, Frank Riccio II, said that he would appeal.